Wasserstein Riemannian geometry of Gaussian densities


The Wasserstein distance on multivariate non-degenerate Gaussian densities is a Riemannian distance. After reviewing the properties of the distance and the metric geodesic, we present an explicit form of the Riemannian metrics on positive-definite matrices and compute its tensor form with respect to the trace inner product. The tensor is a matrix which is the solution to a Lyapunov equation. We compute the explicit formula for the Riemannian exponential, the normal coordinates charts and the Riemannian gradient. Finally, the Levi-Civita covariant derivative is computed in matrix form together with the differential equation for the parallel transport. While all computations are given in matrix form, nonetheless we discuss also the use of a special moving frame.

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The authors wish to thank two anonymous referees for helpful comments. G. Pistone acknowledges the support of de Castro Statistics and Collegio Carlo Alberto. He is a member of GNAMPA-INdAM.

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Correspondence to Giovanni Pistone.

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Malagò, L., Montrucchio, L. & Pistone, G. Wasserstein Riemannian geometry of Gaussian densities. Info. Geo. 1, 137–179 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s41884-018-0014-4

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  • Information geometry
  • Gaussian distribution
  • Wasserstein distance
  • Riemannian metrics
  • Natural gradient
  • Riemannian exponential
  • Normal coordinates
  • Levi-Civita covariant derivative
  • Optimization on positive-definite symmetric matrices

Mathematics Subject Classification

  • 15B48
  • 53C23
  • 53C25
  • 60D05