The algebraic degree of the Wasserstein distance

  • Bernhard Reinke (MPI MiS, Leipzig)
G3 10 (Lecture hall)


Given two rational univariate polynomials, the Wasserstein distance of their associated measures is an algebraic number. We determine the algebraic degree of the squared Wasserstein distance, serving as a measure of algebraic complexity of the corresponding optimization problem. The computation relies on the structure of a subpolytope of the Birkhoff polytope, invariant under a transformation induced by complex conjugation.

Mirke Olschewski

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