Approximating persistent homology in Euclidean space through collapses

Magnus Bakke Botnan, Gard Spreemann*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The Čech complex is one of the most widely used tools in applied algebraic topology. Unfortunately, due to the inclusive nature of the Čech filtration, the number of simplices grows exponentially in the number of input points. A practical consequence is that computations may have to terminate at smaller scales than what the application calls for. In this paper we propose two methods to approximate the Čech persistence module. Both are constructed on the level of spaces, i.e. as sequences of simplicial complexes induced by nerves. We also show how the bottleneck distance between such persistence modules can be understood by how tightly they are sandwiched on the level of spaces. In turn, this implies the correctness of our approximation methods. Finally, we implement our methods and apply them to some example point clouds in Euclidean space.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-101
Number of pages29
JournalApplicable Algebra in Engineering, Communications and Computing
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Approximation
  • Computational topology
  • Persistent homology


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