The Reeb Graph Edit Distance Is Universal

Authors Ulrich Bauer , Claudia Landi , Facundo Mémoli

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Author Details

Ulrich Bauer
  • Department of Mathematics, Technical University of Munich (TUM), Germany
Claudia Landi
  • Dipartimento di Scienze e Metodi dell'Ingegneria, Università degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Reggio Emilia, Italy
Facundo Mémoli
  • Department of Mathematics, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA


We thank Barbara Di Fabio and Yusu Wang for valuable discussions.

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Ulrich Bauer, Claudia Landi, and Facundo Mémoli. The Reeb Graph Edit Distance Is Universal. In 36th International Symposium on Computational Geometry (SoCG 2020). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 164, pp. 15:1-15:16, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2020)


We consider the setting of Reeb graphs of piecewise linear functions and study distances between them that are stable, meaning that functions which are similar in the supremum norm ought to have similar Reeb graphs. We define an edit distance for Reeb graphs and prove that it is stable and universal, meaning that it provides an upper bound to any other stable distance. In contrast, via a specific construction, we show that the interleaving distance and the functional distortion distance on Reeb graphs are not universal.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Theory of computation → Computational geometry
  • Mathematics of computing → Algebraic topology
  • Reeb graphs
  • topological descriptors
  • edit distance
  • interleaving distance


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