Computing Minimal Persistent Cycles: Polynomial and Hard Cases

by   Tamal K. Dey, et al.

Persistent cycles, especially the minimal ones, are useful geometric features functioning as augmentations for the intervals in the purely topological persistence diagrams (also termed as barcodes). In our earlier work, we showed that computing minimal 1-dimensional persistent cycles (persistent 1-cycles) for finite intervals is NP-hard while the same for infinite intervals is polynomially tractable. In this paper, we address this problem for general dimensions with Z_2 coefficients. In addition to proving that it is NP-hard to compute minimal persistent d-cycles (d>1) for both types of intervals given arbitrary simplicial complexes, we identify two interesting cases which are polynomially tractable. These two cases assume the complex to be a certain generalization of manifolds which we term as weak pseudomanifolds. For finite intervals from the d-th persistence diagram of a weak (d+1)-pseudomanifold, we utilize the fact that persistent cycles of such intervals are null-homologous and reduce the problem to a minimal cut problem. Since the same problem for infinite intervals is NP-hard, we further assume the weak (d+1)-pseudomanifold to be embedded in R^d+1 so that the complex has a natural dual graph structure and the problem reduces to a minimal cut problem. Experiments with both algorithms on scientific data indicate that the minimal persistent cycles capture various significant features of the data.


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