Time-Inhomogeneous Diffusion Geometry and Topology


Diffusion condensation is a dynamic process that yields a sequence of multiscale data representations that aim to encode meaningful abstractions. It has proven effective for manifold learning, denoising, clustering, and visualization of high-dimensional data. Diffusion condensation is constructed as a time-inhomogeneous process where each step first computes and then applies a diffusion operator to the data. We theoretically analyze the convergence and evolution of this process from geometric, spectral, and topological perspectives. From a geometric perspective, we obtain convergence bounds based on the smallest transition probability and the radius of the data, whereas from a spectral perspective, our bounds are based on the eigenspectrum of the diffusion kernel. Our spectral results are of particular interest since most of the literature on data diffusion is focused on homogeneous processes. From a topological perspective, we show diffusion condensation generalizes centroidbased hierarchical clustering. We use this perspective to obtain a bound based on the number of data points, independent of their location. To understand the evolution of the data geometry beyond convergence, we use topological data analysis. We show that the condensation process itself defines an intrinsic diffusion homology. We use this intrinsic topology as well as an ambient topology to study how the data changes over diffusion time. We demonstrate both homologies in well-understood toy examples. Our work gives theoretical insights into the convergence of diffusion condensation, and shows that it provides a link between topological and geometric data analysis.