Stanford University - Department of Statistics
We consider a continuous space which models the set of all phylogenetic trees having a fixed set of leaves. This space has a natural metric of nonpositive curvature, giving a way of measuring distance between phylogenetic trees and providing some procedures for averaging or combining several trees whose leaves are identical. This geometry also shows which trees appear within a fixed distance of a given tree and enables construction of convex hulls of a set of trees.
This geometric model of tree space provides a setting in which questions that have been posed by biologists and statisticians over the last decade can be approached in a systematic fashion. For example, it provides a justification for disregarding portions of a collection of trees that agree, thus simplifying the space in which comparisons are to be made.
New types of confidence statements are made possible in this cube complex.
Joint work with Louis Billera and Karen Vogtmann, Mathematics Department, Cornell.