Distances for Comparing Multisets and Sequences

Published in arXiv, 2022

Recommended citation: Bolt, G., Lunagómez, S. and Nemeth, C., (2022). "Distances for comparing multisets and sequences." arXiv. https://arxiv.org/abs/2206.08858

Measuring the distance between data points is fundamental to many statistical techniques, such as dimension reduction or clustering algorithms. However, improvements in data collection technologies has led to a growing versatility of structured data for which standard distance measures are inapplicable. In this paper, we consider the problem of measuring the distance between sequences and multisets of points lying within a metric space, motivated by the analysis of an in-play football data set. Drawing on the wider literature, including that of time series analysis and optimal transport, we discuss various distances which are available in such an instance. For each distance, we state and prove theoretical properties, proposing possible extensions where they fail. Finally, via an example analysis of the in-play football data, we illustrate the usefulness of these distances in practice.