In this thesis, we study two different graph problems.
The first problem revolves around geometric spanners. Here, we have a set of points in the plane and we want to connect them with straight line segments, such that there is a path between each pair of points and these paths do not require large detours. If we achieve this, the resulting graph is called a spanner. We focus our attention on two graphs (the ϴ-graph and Yao-graph) that are constructed by connecting each point with its nearest neighbour in a number of cones. Although this construction is very straight-forward, it has proven challenging to fully determine the properties of the resulting graphs. We show that if the construction uses 5 cones, the resulting graphs are still spanners. This was the only number of cones for which this question remained unanswered. We also present a routing strategy (a way to decide where to go next, based only on our current location, its direct neighbourhood, and our destination) on the half-ϴ6-graph, a variant of the graph with 6 cones. We show that our routing strategy avoids large detours: it finds a path whose length is at most a constant factor from the straight-line distance between the endpoints. Moreover, we show that this routing strategy is optimal.
In the second part, we turn our attention to flips in triangulations. A flip is a simple operation that transforms one triangulation into another. It turns out that with enough flips, we can transform any triangulation into any other. But how many flips is enough? We present an improved upper bound of 5.2n - 33.6 on the maximum flip distance between any pair of triangulations with n vertices. Along the way, we prove matching lower bounds on each step in the current algorithm, including a tight bound of (3n - 9)/5 flips needed to make a triangulation 4-connected. In addition, we prove tight ϴ(n log n) bounds on the number of flips required in several settings where the edges have unique labels.