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Open Access research with a European policy impact...

The Strathprints institutional repository is a digital archive of University of Strathclyde's Open Access research outputs. Strathprints provides access to thousands of Open Access research papers by Strathclyde researchers, including by researchers from the European Policies Research Centre (EPRC).

EPRC is a leading institute in Europe for comparative research on public policy, with a particular focus on regional development policies. Spanning 30 European countries, EPRC research programmes have a strong emphasis on applied research and knowledge exchange, including the provision of policy advice to EU institutions and national and sub-national government authorities throughout Europe.

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A bounded distance metric for comparing tree structure

Connor, R. and Simeoni, F. and Iakovos, M. and Moss, R. (2011) A bounded distance metric for comparing tree structure. Information Systems, 36 (4). pp. 748-764. ISSN 0306-4379

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Abstract

Comparing tree-structured data for structural similarity is a recurring theme and one on which much effort has been spent. Most approaches so far are grounded, implicitly or explicitly, in algorithmic information theory, being approximations to an information distance derived from Kolmogorov complexity. In this paper we propose a novel complexity metric, also grounded in information theory, but calculated via Shannon's entropy equations. This is used to formulate a directly and efficiently computable metric for the structural difference between unordered trees. The paper explains the derivation of the metric in terms of information theory, and proves the essential property that it is a distance metric. The property of boundedness means that the metric can be used in contexts such as clustering, where second-order comparisons are required. The distance metric property means that the metric can be used in the context of similarity search and metric spaces in general, allowing trees to be indexed and stored within this domain. We are not aware of any other tree similarity metric with these properties.