Skip to main content

Metric Algebraic Geometry

  • Textbook
  • Open Access
  • © 2024

You have full access to this open access Textbook


  • brings algebraic and differential geometry together in a computational setting
  • provides a modern view on this connection, motivated by data science and AI
  • focuses on concrete examples from a wide variety of applications
  • This book is open access, which means that you have free and unlimited access

Part of the book series: Oberwolfach Seminars (OWS, volume 53)

  • 21k Accesses

Buy print copy

Softcover Book USD 49.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Compact, lightweight edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

About this book

Metric algebraic geometry combines concepts from algebraic geometry and differential geometry. Building on classical foundations, it offers practical tools for the 21st century. Many applied problems center around metric questions, such as optimization with respect to distances.

After a short dive into 19th-century geometry of plane curves, we turn to problems expressed by polynomial equations over the real numbers. The solution sets are real algebraic varieties. Many of our metric problems arise in data science, optimization and statistics. These include minimizing Wasserstein distances in machine learning, maximum likelihood estimation, computing curvature, or minimizing the Euclidean distance to a variety.

This book addresses a wide audience of researchers and students and can be used for a one-semester course at the graduate level. The key prerequisite is a solid foundation in undergraduate mathematics, especially in algebra and geometry.

This is an openaccess book.


Table of contents (15 chapters)


“The fifteen chapters of the book are well motivated and within reach of a motivated reader  with a moderate background in geometry and unrelated fields of application, for example, in probability theory or statistical models.” (Felipe Zaldiva, MAA Reviews, May 2, 2024)

Authors and Affiliations

  • Universität Osnabrück, Osnabrück, Germany

    Paul Breiding

  • KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden

    Kathlén Kohn

  • Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in the Sciences, Leipzig, Germany

    Bernd Sturmfels

About the authors

Paul Breiding is professor for mathematical methods in data science at the University of Osnabrück, an Emmy-Noether Research Group Leader and member of the Academy of Sciences and Literature Mainz. In 2021 he received the Early Career Prize of the SIAM Activity Group on Algebraic Geometry. His interests lie in numerical and random algebraic geometry. He is one of the developers of the software HomotopyContinuation.jl.

Kathlén Kohn is a tenure-track assistant professor at KTH in Stockholm. Her research investigates the underlying geometry in computer-vision, machine-learning and statistical problems, using algebraic methods. For her research in computer vision, she received the Best Student Paper Award at the International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV) in 2019 and the Swedish L'Oréal-Unesco for Women in Science prize in 2023.

After many years at UC Berkeley, Bernd Sturmfels now serves as a director at the Max-Planck Institute for Mathematics in the Sciences in Leipzig, Germany, where he leads the Nonlinear Algebra group. He has published 10 books and 300 articles, and he mentored 60 doctoral students, plus countless postdocs. His interests range from algebraic geometry and combinatorics to statistics, optimization and physics.

Bibliographic Information

Publish with us