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A Family of Metrics from the Truncated Smoothing of Reeb Graphs

Authors Erin Wolf Chambers, Elizabeth Munch , Tim Ophelders

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Author Details

Erin Wolf Chambers
  • Department of Computer Science, St. Louis University, MO, USA
Elizabeth Munch
  • Department of Computational Mathematics, Science and Engineering and Department of Mathematics, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA
Tim Ophelders
  • Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, TU Eindhoven, The Netherlands


The authors wish to thank the anonymous reviewers for their helpful feedback and insights that tightened the bounds of Theorem 5.3.

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Erin Wolf Chambers, Elizabeth Munch, and Tim Ophelders. A Family of Metrics from the Truncated Smoothing of Reeb Graphs. In 37th International Symposium on Computational Geometry (SoCG 2021). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 189, pp. 22:1-22:17, Schloss Dagstuhl - Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2021)


In this paper, we introduce an extension of smoothing on Reeb graphs, which we call truncated smoothing; this in turn allows us to define a new family of metrics which generalize the interleaving distance for Reeb graphs. Intuitively, we "chop off" parts near local minima and maxima during the course of smoothing, where the amount cut is controlled by a parameter τ. After formalizing truncation as a functor, we show that when applied after the smoothing functor, this prevents extensive expansion of the range of the function, and yields particularly nice properties (such as maintaining connectivity) when combined with smoothing for 0 ≤ τ ≤ 2ε, where ε is the smoothing parameter. Then, for the restriction of τ ∈ [0,ε], we have additional structure which we can take advantage of to construct a categorical flow for any choice of slope m ∈ [0,1]. Using the infrastructure built for a category with a flow, this then gives an interleaving distance for every m ∈ [0,1], which is a generalization of the original interleaving distance, which is the case m = 0. While the resulting metrics are not stable, we show that any pair of these for m, m' ∈ [0,1) are strongly equivalent metrics, which in turn gives stability of each metric up to a multiplicative constant. We conclude by discussing implications of this metric within the broader family of metrics for Reeb graphs.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Mathematics of computing → Algebraic topology
  • Theory of computation → Computational geometry
  • Reeb graphs
  • interleaving distance
  • graphical signatures


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