Homology, Homotopy and Applications

Volume 22 (2020)

Number 1

Medians of populations of persistence diagrams

Pages: 255 – 282

DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.4310/HHA.2020.v22.n1.a15


Katharine Turner (Mathematical Sciences Institute, Australia National University, Canberra, ACT, Australia)


Persistence diagrams are common objects in the field of Topological Data Analysis. They are topological summaries that capture both topological and geometric structure within data. Recently there has been a surge of interest in developing tools to statistically analyze populations of persistence diagrams, a process hampered by the complicated geometry of the space of persistence diagrams. In this paper we study the median of a set of diagrams, defined as the minimizer of an appropriate cost function analogous to the sum of distances used for samples of real numbers. We then characterize the local minima of this cost function and in doing so characterize the median. We also do some comparative analysis of the properties of the median and the mean.


persistence diagram, median, mean, topological data analysis, object oriented data analysis

2010 Mathematics Subject Classification

51F99, 52C35, 55N99, 62G99

Received 20 September 2016

Received revised 22 August 2018

Published 11 December 2019