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A Mayer–Vietoris Formula for Persistent Homology With an Application to Shape Recognition in the Presence of Occlusions
Barbara Di Fabio, Claudia Landi
In algebraic topology it is well known that, using the Mayer–Vietoris sequence, the homology of a space X can be studied by splitting X into subspaces A and B and computing the homology of A, B, and A∩B. A natural question is: To what extent does persistent homology benefit from a similar property? In this paper we show that persistent homology has a Mayer–Vietoris sequence that is generally not exact but only of order 2. However, we obtain a Mayer–Vietoris formula involving the ranks of the persistent homology groups of X, A, B, and A∩B plus three extra terms. This implies that persistent homological features of A and B can be found either as persistent homological features of X or of A∩B. As an application of this result, we show that persistence diagrams are able to recognize an occluded shape by showing a common subset of points.