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From Trees to Barcodes and Back Again: Theoretical and Statistical Perspectives
Lida Kanari, Adélie Garin, Kathryn Hess
Methods of topological data analysis have been successfully applied in a wide range of fields to provide useful summaries of the structure of complex data sets in terms of topological descriptors, such as persistence diagrams. While there are many powerful techniques for computing topological descriptors, the inverse problem, i.e., recovering the input data from topological descriptors, has proved to be challenging. In this article we study in detail the Topological Morphology Descriptor (TMD), which assigns a persistence diagram to any tree embedded in Euclidean space, and a sort of stochastic inverse to the TMD, the Topological Neuron Synthesis (TNS) algorithm, gaining both theoretical and computational insights into the relation between the two. We propose a new approach to classify barcodes using symmetric groups, which provides a concrete language to formulate our results. We investigate to what extent the TNS recovers a geometric tree from its TMD and describe the effect of different types of noise on the process of tree generation from persistence diagrams. We prove moreover that the TNS algorithm is stable with respect to specific types of noise.