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Quasi-Universality of Reeb Graph Distances

Authors Ulrich Bauer , Håvard Bakke Bjerkevik , Benedikt Fluhr

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Author Details

Ulrich Bauer
  • Department of Mathematics and Munich Data Science Institute, Technische Universität München, Germany
Håvard Bakke Bjerkevik
  • Institute of Geometry, Technische Universität Graz, Austria
Benedikt Fluhr
  • Department of Mathematics, Technische Universität München, Germany

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Ulrich Bauer, Håvard Bakke Bjerkevik, and Benedikt Fluhr. Quasi-Universality of Reeb Graph Distances. In 38th International Symposium on Computational Geometry (SoCG 2022). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 224, pp. 14:1-14:18, Schloss Dagstuhl - Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2022)


We establish bi-Lipschitz bounds certifying quasi-universality (universality up to a constant factor) for various distances between Reeb graphs: the interleaving distance, the functional distortion distance, and the functional contortion distance. The definition of the latter distance is a novel contribution, and for the special case of contour trees we also prove strict universality of this distance. Furthermore, we prove that for the special case of merge trees the functional contortion distance coincides with the interleaving distance, yielding universality of all four distances in this case.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Mathematics of computing → Geometric topology
  • Mathematics of computing → Trees
  • Theory of computation → Computational geometry
  • Reeb graphs
  • contour trees
  • merge trees
  • distances
  • universality
  • interleaving distance
  • functional distortion distance
  • functional contortion distance


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  1. Ulrich Bauer, Håvard Bakke Bjerkevik, and Benedikt Fluhr. Quasi-universality of Reeb graph distances. Preprint, 2021. URL:
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