
HansJürgen Bandelt and
Andreas W. M. Dress. A canonical decomposition theory for metrics on a finite set. In Advances in Mathematics, Vol. 92(1):47105, 1992. Keywords: abstract network, circular split system, from distances, split, split decomposition, split network, weak hierarchy, weakly compatible.
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"We consider specific additive decompositions d = d1 + ... + dn of metrics, defined on a finite set X (where a metric may give distance zero to pairs of distinct points). The simplest building stones are the slit metrics, associated to splits (i.e., bipartitions) of the given set X. While an additive decomposition of a Hamming metric into split metrics is in no way unique, we achieve uniqueness by restricting ourselves to coherent decompositions, that is, decompositions d = d1 + ... + dn such that for every map f:X → R with f(x) + f(y) ≥ d(x, y) for all x, y ε{lunate} X there exist maps f1, ..., fn: X → R with f = f1 + ... + fn and fi(x) + fi(y) ≥ di(x, y) for all i = 1,..., n and all x, y ε{lunate} X. These coherent decompositions are closely related to a geometric decomposition of the injective hull of the given metric. A metric with a coherent decomposition into a (weighted) sum of split metrics will be called totally splitdecomposable. Tree metrics (and more generally, the sum of two tree metrics) are particular instances of totally splitdecomposable metrics. Our main result confirms that every metric admits a coherent decomposition into a totally splitdecomposable metric and a splitprime residue, where all the split summands and hence the decomposition can be determined in polynomial time, and that a family of splits can occur this way if and only if it does not induce on any fourpoint subset all three splits with block size two. © 1992."




