Edge Collapse and Persistence of Flag Complexes

Authors Jean-Daniel Boissonnat, Siddharth Pritam

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Jean-Daniel Boissonnat
  • Université Côte d'Azur, INRIA, Sophia Antipolis, France
Siddharth Pritam
  • Université Côte d'Azur, INRIA, Sophia Antipolis, France


We want to thank Marc Glisse for useful discussions and Vincent Rouvreau for his help with Gudhi.

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Jean-Daniel Boissonnat and Siddharth Pritam. Edge Collapse and Persistence of Flag Complexes. In 36th International Symposium on Computational Geometry (SoCG 2020). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 164, pp. 19:1-19:15, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2020)


In this article, we extend the notions of dominated vertex and strong collapse of a simplicial complex as introduced by J. Barmak and E. Miniam. We say that a simplex (of any dimension) is dominated if its link is a simplicial cone. Domination of edges appears to be a very powerful concept, especially when applied to flag complexes. We show that edge collapse (removal of dominated edges) in a flag complex can be performed using only the 1-skeleton of the complex. Furthermore, the residual complex is a flag complex as well. Next we show that, similar to the case of strong collapses, we can use edge collapses to reduce a flag filtration ℱ to a smaller flag filtration ℱ^c with the same persistence. Here again, we only use the 1-skeletons of the complexes. The resulting method to compute ℱ^c is simple and extremely efficient and, when used as a preprocessing for persistence computation, leads to gains of several orders of magnitude w.r.t the state-of-the-art methods (including our previous approach using strong collapse). The method is exact, irrespective of dimension, and improves performance of persistence computation even in low dimensions. This is demonstrated by numerous experiments on publicly available data.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Mathematics of computing
  • Theory of computation → Computational geometry
  • Mathematics of computing → Topology
  • Computational Topology
  • Topological Data Analysis
  • Edge Collapse
  • Simple Collapse
  • Persistent homology


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