Computing the Multicover Bifiltration

René Corbet, Michael Kerber, Michael Lesnick, Georg Osang

Given a finite set $A\subset\mathbb{R}^d$, let Cov$_{r,k}$ denote the set of all points within distance $r$ to at least $k$ points of $A$. Allowing $r$ and $k$ to vary, we obtain a 2-parameter family of spaces that grow larger when $r$ increases or $k$ decreases, called the \emph{multicover bifiltration}. Motivated by the problem of computing the homology of this bifiltration, we introduce two closely related combinatorial bifiltrations, one simplicial and the other polyhedral, which are both topologically equivalent to the multicover bifiltration and far smaller than a \v{C}ech-based model considered in prior work of Sheehy. Our polyhedral construction is a variant of the rhomboid tiling of Edelsbrunner and Osang, and can be efficiently computed using a variant of an algorithm given by these authors. Using an implementation for dimension 2 and 3, we provide experimental results. Our simplicial construction is useful for understanding the polyhedral construction and proving its correctness.

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