Decorated Merge Trees for Persistent Topology

29 Mar 2021  ·  Justin Curry, Haibin Hang, Washington Mio, Tom Needham, Osman Berat Okutan ·

This paper introduces decorated merge trees (DMTs) as a novel invariant for persistent spaces. DMTs combine both $\pi_0$ and $H_n$ information into a single data structure that distinguishes filtrations that merge trees and persistent homology cannot distinguish alone. Three variants on DMTs, which emphasize category theory, representation theory and persistence barcodes, respectively, offer different advantages in terms of theory and computation. Two notions of distance -- an interleaving distance and bottleneck distance -- for DMTs are defined and a hierarchy of stability results that both refine and generalize existing stability results is proved here. To overcome some of the computational complexity inherent in these distances, we provide a novel use of Gromov-Wasserstein couplings to compute optimal merge tree alignments for a combinatorial version of our interleaving distance which can be tractably estimated. We introduce computational frameworks for generating, visualizing and comparing decorated merge trees derived from synthetic and real data. Example applications include comparison of point clouds, interpretation of persistent homology of sliding window embeddings of time series, visualization of topological features in segmented brain tumor images and topology-driven graph alignment.

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