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**Published in:** LIPIcs, Volume 224, 38th International Symposium on Computational Geometry (SoCG 2022)

Homology features of spaces which appear in applications, for instance 3D meshes, are among the most important topological properties of these objects. Given a non-trivial cycle in a homology class, we consider the problem of computing a representative in that homology class which is optimal. We study two measures of optimality, namely, the lexicographic order of cycles (the lex-optimal cycle) and the bottleneck norm (a bottleneck-optimal cycle). We give a simple algorithm for computing the lex-optimal cycle for a 1-homology class in a closed orientable surface. In contrast to this, our main result is that, in the case of 3-manifolds of size n² in the Euclidean 3-space, the problem of finding a bottleneck optimal cycle cannot be solved more efficiently than solving a system of linear equations with an n × n sparse matrix. From this reduction, we deduce several hardness results. Most notably, we show that for 3-manifolds given as a subset of the 3-space of size n², persistent homology computations are at least as hard as rank computation (for sparse matrices) while ordinary homology computations can be done in O(n² log n) time. This is the first such distinction between these two computations. Moreover, it follows that the same disparity exists between the height persistent homology computation and general sub-level set persistent homology computation for simplicial complexes in the 3-space.

Erin Wolf Chambers, Salman Parsa, and Hannah Schreiber. On Complexity of Computing Bottleneck and Lexicographic Optimal Cycles in a Homology Class. In 38th International Symposium on Computational Geometry (SoCG 2022). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 224, pp. 25:1-25:15, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2022)

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@InProceedings{chambers_et_al:LIPIcs.SoCG.2022.25, author = {Chambers, Erin Wolf and Parsa, Salman and Schreiber, Hannah}, title = {{On Complexity of Computing Bottleneck and Lexicographic Optimal Cycles in a Homology Class}}, booktitle = {38th International Symposium on Computational Geometry (SoCG 2022)}, pages = {25:1--25:15}, series = {Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)}, ISBN = {978-3-95977-227-3}, ISSN = {1868-8969}, year = {2022}, volume = {224}, editor = {Goaoc, Xavier and Kerber, Michael}, publisher = {Schloss Dagstuhl -- Leibniz-Zentrum f{\"u}r Informatik}, address = {Dagstuhl, Germany}, URL = {https://drops.dagstuhl.de/entities/document/10.4230/LIPIcs.SoCG.2022.25}, URN = {urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-160338}, doi = {10.4230/LIPIcs.SoCG.2022.25}, annote = {Keywords: computational topology, bottleneck optimal cycles, homology} }

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**Published in:** LIPIcs, Volume 189, 37th International Symposium on Computational Geometry (SoCG 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.

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)

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@InProceedings{chambers_et_al:LIPIcs.SoCG.2021.22, author = {Chambers, Erin Wolf and Munch, Elizabeth and Ophelders, Tim}, title = {{A Family of Metrics from the Truncated Smoothing of Reeb Graphs}}, booktitle = {37th International Symposium on Computational Geometry (SoCG 2021)}, pages = {22:1--22:17}, series = {Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)}, ISBN = {978-3-95977-184-9}, ISSN = {1868-8969}, year = {2021}, volume = {189}, editor = {Buchin, Kevin and Colin de Verdi\`{e}re, \'{E}ric}, publisher = {Schloss Dagstuhl -- Leibniz-Zentrum f{\"u}r Informatik}, address = {Dagstuhl, Germany}, URL = {https://drops.dagstuhl.de/entities/document/10.4230/LIPIcs.SoCG.2021.22}, URN = {urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-138218}, doi = {10.4230/LIPIcs.SoCG.2021.22}, annote = {Keywords: Reeb graphs, interleaving distance, graphical signatures} }

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**Published in:** LIPIcs, Volume 189, 37th International Symposium on Computational Geometry (SoCG 2021)

In this paper we prove that the problem of deciding contractibility of an arbitrary closed curve on the boundary of a 3-manifold is in NP. We emphasize that the manifold and the curve are both inputs to the problem. Moreover, our algorithm also works if the curve is given as a compressed word. Previously, such an algorithm was known for simple (non-compressed) curves, and, in very limited cases, for curves with self-intersections. Furthermore, our algorithm is fixed-parameter tractable in the complexity of the input 3-manifold.
As part of our proof, we obtain new polynomial-time algorithms for compressed curves on surfaces, which we believe are of independent interest. We provide a polynomial-time algorithm which, given an orientable surface and a compressed loop on the surface, computes a canonical form for the loop as a compressed word. In particular, contractibility of compressed curves on surfaces can be decided in polynomial time; prior published work considered only constant genus surfaces. More generally, we solve the following normal subgroup membership problem in polynomial time: given an arbitrary orientable surface, a compressed closed curve γ, and a collection of disjoint normal curves Δ, there is a polynomial-time algorithm to decide if γ lies in the normal subgroup generated by components of Δ in the fundamental group of the surface after attaching the curves to a basepoint.

Erin Wolf Chambers, Francis Lazarus, Arnaud de Mesmay, and Salman Parsa. Algorithms for Contractibility of Compressed Curves on 3-Manifold Boundaries. In 37th International Symposium on Computational Geometry (SoCG 2021). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 189, pp. 23:1-23:16, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2021)

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@InProceedings{chambers_et_al:LIPIcs.SoCG.2021.23, author = {Chambers, Erin Wolf and Lazarus, Francis and de Mesmay, Arnaud and Parsa, Salman}, title = {{Algorithms for Contractibility of Compressed Curves on 3-Manifold Boundaries}}, booktitle = {37th International Symposium on Computational Geometry (SoCG 2021)}, pages = {23:1--23:16}, series = {Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)}, ISBN = {978-3-95977-184-9}, ISSN = {1868-8969}, year = {2021}, volume = {189}, editor = {Buchin, Kevin and Colin de Verdi\`{e}re, \'{E}ric}, publisher = {Schloss Dagstuhl -- Leibniz-Zentrum f{\"u}r Informatik}, address = {Dagstuhl, Germany}, URL = {https://drops.dagstuhl.de/entities/document/10.4230/LIPIcs.SoCG.2021.23}, URN = {urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-138223}, doi = {10.4230/LIPIcs.SoCG.2021.23}, annote = {Keywords: 3-manifolds, surfaces, low-dimensional topology, contractibility, compressed curves} }

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**Published in:** LIPIcs, Volume 162, 17th Scandinavian Symposium and Workshops on Algorithm Theory (SWAT 2020)

We study the problem of low-stretch spanning trees in graphs of bounded width: bandwidth, cutwidth, and treewidth. We show that any simple connected graph G with a linear arrangement of bandwidth b can be embedded into a distribution T of spanning trees such that the expected stretch of each edge of G is O(b²). Our proof implies a linear time algorithm for sampling from T. Therefore, we have a linear time algorithm that finds a spanning tree of G with average stretch O(b²) with high probability. We also describe a deterministic linear-time algorithm for computing a spanning tree of G with average stretch O(b³). For graphs of cutwidth c, we construct a spanning tree with stretch O(c²) in linear time. Finally, when G has treewidth k we provide a dynamic programming algorithm computing a minimum stretch spanning tree of G that runs in polynomial time with respect to the number of vertices of G.

Glencora Borradaile, Erin Wolf Chambers, David Eppstein, William Maxwell, and Amir Nayyeri. Low-Stretch Spanning Trees of Graphs with Bounded Width. In 17th Scandinavian Symposium and Workshops on Algorithm Theory (SWAT 2020). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 162, pp. 15:1-15:19, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2020)

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@InProceedings{borradaile_et_al:LIPIcs.SWAT.2020.15, author = {Borradaile, Glencora and Chambers, Erin Wolf and Eppstein, David and Maxwell, William and Nayyeri, Amir}, title = {{Low-Stretch Spanning Trees of Graphs with Bounded Width}}, booktitle = {17th Scandinavian Symposium and Workshops on Algorithm Theory (SWAT 2020)}, pages = {15:1--15:19}, series = {Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)}, ISBN = {978-3-95977-150-4}, ISSN = {1868-8969}, year = {2020}, volume = {162}, editor = {Albers, Susanne}, publisher = {Schloss Dagstuhl -- Leibniz-Zentrum f{\"u}r Informatik}, address = {Dagstuhl, Germany}, URL = {https://drops.dagstuhl.de/entities/document/10.4230/LIPIcs.SWAT.2020.15}, URN = {urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-122622}, doi = {10.4230/LIPIcs.SWAT.2020.15}, annote = {Keywords: Treewidth, low-stretch spanning tree, fundamental cycle basis} }

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**Published in:** LIPIcs, Volume 51, 32nd International Symposium on Computational Geometry (SoCG 2016)

We study the problems of finding a minimum cycle basis (a minimum weight set of cycles that form a basis for the cycle space) and a minimum homology basis (a minimum weight set of cycles that generates the 1-dimensional (Z_2)-homology classes) of an undirected graph embedded on an orientable surface of genus g. The problems are closely related, because the minimum cycle basis of a graph contains its minimum homology basis, and the minimum homology basis of the 1-skeleton of any graph is exactly its minimum cycle basis.
For the minimum cycle basis problem, we give a deterministic O(n^omega + 2^2g n^2)-time algorithm. The best known existing algorithms for surface embedded graphs are those for general sparse graphs: an O(n^omega) time Monte Carlo algorithm [Amaldi et. al., ESA'09] and a deterministic O(n^3) time algorithm [Mehlhorn and Michail, TALG'09]. For the minimum homology basis problem, we give an O(g^3 n log n)-time algorithm, improving on existing algorithms for many values of g and n.

Glencora Borradaile, Erin Wolf Chambers, Kyle Fox, and Amir Nayyeri. Minimum Cycle and Homology Bases of Surface Embedded Graphs. In 32nd International Symposium on Computational Geometry (SoCG 2016). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 51, pp. 23:1-23:15, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2016)

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@InProceedings{borradaile_et_al:LIPIcs.SoCG.2016.23, author = {Borradaile, Glencora and Chambers, Erin Wolf and Fox, Kyle and Nayyeri, Amir}, title = {{Minimum Cycle and Homology Bases of Surface Embedded Graphs}}, booktitle = {32nd International Symposium on Computational Geometry (SoCG 2016)}, pages = {23:1--23:15}, series = {Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)}, ISBN = {978-3-95977-009-5}, ISSN = {1868-8969}, year = {2016}, volume = {51}, editor = {Fekete, S\'{a}ndor and Lubiw, Anna}, publisher = {Schloss Dagstuhl -- Leibniz-Zentrum f{\"u}r Informatik}, address = {Dagstuhl, Germany}, URL = {https://drops.dagstuhl.de/entities/document/10.4230/LIPIcs.SoCG.2016.23}, URN = {urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-59152}, doi = {10.4230/LIPIcs.SoCG.2016.23}, annote = {Keywords: Cycle basis, Homology basis, Topological graph theory} }

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Media Exposition

**Published in:** LIPIcs, Volume 224, 38th International Symposium on Computational Geometry (SoCG 2022)

The medial axis of a set consists of the points in the ambient space without a unique closest point on the original set. Since its introduction, the medial axis has been used extensively in many applications as a method of computing a topologically equivalent skeleton. Unfortunately, one limiting factor in the use of the medial axis of a smooth manifold is that it is not necessarily topologically stable under small perturbations of the manifold. To counter these instabilities various prunings of the medial axis have been proposed. Here, we examine one type of pruning, called burning. Because of the good experimental results, it was hoped that the burning method of simplifying the medial axis would be stable. In this work we show a simple example that dashes such hopes based on Bing’s house with two rooms, demonstrating an isotopy of a shape where the medial axis goes from collapsible to non-collapsible.

Erin Chambers, Christopher Fillmore, Elizabeth Stephenson, and Mathijs Wintraecken. A Cautionary Tale: Burning the Medial Axis Is Unstable (Media Exposition). In 38th International Symposium on Computational Geometry (SoCG 2022). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 224, pp. 66:1-66:9, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2022)

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@InProceedings{chambers_et_al:LIPIcs.SoCG.2022.66, author = {Chambers, Erin and Fillmore, Christopher and Stephenson, Elizabeth and Wintraecken, Mathijs}, title = {{A Cautionary Tale: Burning the Medial Axis Is Unstable}}, booktitle = {38th International Symposium on Computational Geometry (SoCG 2022)}, pages = {66:1--66:9}, series = {Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)}, ISBN = {978-3-95977-227-3}, ISSN = {1868-8969}, year = {2022}, volume = {224}, editor = {Goaoc, Xavier and Kerber, Michael}, publisher = {Schloss Dagstuhl -- Leibniz-Zentrum f{\"u}r Informatik}, address = {Dagstuhl, Germany}, URL = {https://drops.dagstuhl.de/entities/document/10.4230/LIPIcs.SoCG.2022.66}, URN = {urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-160744}, doi = {10.4230/LIPIcs.SoCG.2022.66}, annote = {Keywords: Medial axis, Collapse, Pruning, Burning, Stability} }

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**Published in:** LIPIcs, Volume 87, 25th Annual European Symposium on Algorithms (ESA 2017)

Computing optimal deformations between two curves is a fundamental question with various applications, and has recently received much attention in both computational topology and in mathematics in the form of homotopies of disks and annular regions. In this paper, we examine this problem in a geometric setting, where we consider the boundary of a polygonal domain with spikes, point obstacles that can be crossed at an additive cost. We aim to continuously morph from one part of the boundary to another, necessarily passing over all spikes, such that the most expensive intermediate curve is minimized, where the cost of a curve is its geometric length plus the cost of any spikes it crosses.
We first investigate the general setting where each spike may have a different cost. For the number of inflection points in an intermediate curve, we present a lower bound that is linear in the number of spikes, even if the domain is convex and the two boundaries for which we seek a morph share an endpoint. We describe a 2-approximation algorithm for the general case, and an optimal algorithm for the case that the two boundaries for which we seek a morph share both endpoints, thereby representing the entire boundary of the domain.
We then consider the setting where all spikes have the same unit cost and we describe a polynomial-time exact algorithm. The algorithm combines structural properties of homotopies arising from the geometry with methodology for computing Fréchet distances.

Benjamin Burton, Erin Chambers, Marc van Kreveld, Wouter Meulemans, Tim Ophelders, and Bettina Speckmann. Computing Optimal Homotopies over a Spiked Plane with Polygonal Boundary. In 25th Annual European Symposium on Algorithms (ESA 2017). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 87, pp. 23:1-23:14, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2017)

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@InProceedings{burton_et_al:LIPIcs.ESA.2017.23, author = {Burton, Benjamin and Chambers, Erin and van Kreveld, Marc and Meulemans, Wouter and Ophelders, Tim and Speckmann, Bettina}, title = {{Computing Optimal Homotopies over a Spiked Plane with Polygonal Boundary}}, booktitle = {25th Annual European Symposium on Algorithms (ESA 2017)}, pages = {23:1--23:14}, series = {Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)}, ISBN = {978-3-95977-049-1}, ISSN = {1868-8969}, year = {2017}, volume = {87}, editor = {Pruhs, Kirk and Sohler, Christian}, publisher = {Schloss Dagstuhl -- Leibniz-Zentrum f{\"u}r Informatik}, address = {Dagstuhl, Germany}, URL = {https://drops.dagstuhl.de/entities/document/10.4230/LIPIcs.ESA.2017.23}, URN = {urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-78630}, doi = {10.4230/LIPIcs.ESA.2017.23}, annote = {Keywords: Fr\'{e}chet distance, polygonal domain, homotopy, geodesic, obstacle} }

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**Published in:** LIPIcs, Volume 57, 24th Annual European Symposium on Algorithms (ESA 2016)

An important task in trajectory analysis is defining a meaningful representative for a cluster of similar trajectories. Formally defining and computing such a representative r is a challenging problem. We propose and discuss two new definitions, both of which use only the geometry of the input trajectories. The definitions are based on the homotopy area as a measure of similarity between two curves, which is a minimum area swept by all possible deformations of one curve into the other. In the first definition we wish to minimize the maximum homotopy area between r and any input trajectory, whereas in the second definition we wish to minimize the sum of the homotopy areas between r and the input trajectories. For both definitions computing an optimal representative is NP-hard. However, for the case of minimizing the sum of the homotopy areas, an optimal representative can be found efficiently in a natural class of restricted inputs, namely, when the arrangement of trajectories forms a directed acyclic graph.

Erin Chambers, Irina Kostitsyna, Maarten Löffler, and Frank Staals. Homotopy Measures for Representative Trajectories. In 24th Annual European Symposium on Algorithms (ESA 2016). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 57, pp. 27:1-27:17, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2016)

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@InProceedings{chambers_et_al:LIPIcs.ESA.2016.27, author = {Chambers, Erin and Kostitsyna, Irina and L\"{o}ffler, Maarten and Staals, Frank}, title = {{Homotopy Measures for Representative Trajectories}}, booktitle = {24th Annual European Symposium on Algorithms (ESA 2016)}, pages = {27:1--27:17}, series = {Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)}, ISBN = {978-3-95977-015-6}, ISSN = {1868-8969}, year = {2016}, volume = {57}, editor = {Sankowski, Piotr and Zaroliagis, Christos}, publisher = {Schloss Dagstuhl -- Leibniz-Zentrum f{\"u}r Informatik}, address = {Dagstuhl, Germany}, URL = {https://drops.dagstuhl.de/entities/document/10.4230/LIPIcs.ESA.2016.27}, URN = {urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-63783}, doi = {10.4230/LIPIcs.ESA.2016.27}, annote = {Keywords: trajectory analysis, representative trajectory, homotopy area} }

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