Diversities and the Geometry of Hypergraphs

David Bryant, Paul F. Tupper

The embedding of finite metrics in $\ell_1$ has become a fundamental tool for both combinatorial optimization and large-scale data analysis. One important application is to network flow problems in which there is close relation between max-flow min-cut theorems and the minimal distortion embeddings of metrics into $\ell_1$. Here we show that this theory can be generalized considerably to encompass Steiner tree packing problems in both graphs and hypergraphs. Instead of the theory of $\ell_1$ metrics and minimal distortion embeddings, the parallel is the theory of diversities recently introduced by Bryant and Tupper, and the corresponding theory of $\ell_1$ diversities and embeddings which we develop here.

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