Purdue University Graduate School
DissertationAMTFinal.pdf (6.05 MB)

Stochastic Process Limits for Topological Functionals of Geometric Complexes

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posted on 2021-07-23, 16:38 authored by Andrew M ThomasAndrew M Thomas

This dissertation establishes limit theory for topological functionals of geometric complexes from a stochastic process viewpoint. Standard filtrations of geometric complexes, such as the Čech and Vietoris-Rips complexes, have a natural parameter r which governs the formation of simplices: this is the basis for persistent homology. However, the parameter r may also be considered the time parameter of an appropriate stochastic process which summarizes the evolution of the filtration.

Here we examine the stochastic behavior of two of the foremost classes of topological functionals of such filtrations: the Betti numbers and the Euler characteristic. There are also two distinct setups in which the points underlying the complexes are generated, where the points are distributed randomly in Rd according to a general density (the traditional setup) and where the points lie in the tail of a heavy-tailed or exponentially-decaying “noise” distribution (the extreme-value theory (EVT) setup).

These results constitute some of the first results combining topological data analysis (TDA) and stochastic process theory. The first collection of results establishes stochastic process limits for Betti numbers of Čech complexes of Poisson and binomial point processes for two specific regimes in the traditional setup: the sparse regime—when the parameter r governing the formation of simplices causes the Betti numbers to concentrate on components of the lowest order; and the critical regime—when the parameter r is of the order n-1/d and the geometric complex becomes highly connected with topological holes of every dimension. The second collection of results establishes a functional strong law of large numbers and a functional central limit theorem for the Euler characteristic of a random geometric complex for the critical regime in the traditional setup. The final collection of results establishes functional strong laws of large numbers for geometric complexes in the EVT setup for the two classes of “noise” densities mentioned above.


Random Algebraic Topology

Directorate for Mathematical & Physical Sciences

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Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Statistics

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Takashi Owada

Additional Committee Member 2

Anirban DasGupta

Additional Committee Member 3

Raghu Pasupathy

Additional Committee Member 4

Qifan Song

Additional Committee Member 5

Mark Daniel Ward