Let $M$ be a metric space. Then the doubling dimension of $M$, denoted $\dim M$, is defined to be the minimum value $k$ such that every ball in $M$ of radius $r$ can be covered by at most $2^k$ balls of radius $r/2$.

In the paper "Small Hop-diameter Sparse Spanners for Doubling Metrics" by Chan/Gupta, the authors write:

Apart from being a generalization of the $\ell_p$ notion of dimension, designing algorithms that only use the doubling properties (instead of the geometry of $\mathbb R^k$) has other advantages: the notion of doubling dimension is fairly resistant to small perturbations in the distances: for instance, if one takes a distance matrix of a set of points in $\ell_p^k$ and slightly changes some of the entries, then the doubling dimension does not change by much, but the metric may not remain isometrically embeddable in $\ell_p$ (into any number of dimensions).

I have two related questions about this statement.

  1. Is there a known formalization of this stability, perhaps with respect to the Hausdorff distance on (finite) subsets of $\ell_p^k$? That is, do we have something like the following: Let $A$ and $B$ be finite subsets of $\ell_p^k$. Then $\lvert\dim A - \dim B\rvert \leq d_\text H(A,B)$, where $d_\text H$ is the Hausdorff distance?

  2. Does this stability generalize to arbitrary finite metric spaces, with respect to, e.g., the Gromov–Hausdorff distance? That is, if $A$ and $B$ are finite metric spaces, do we have something like $\lvert\dim A - \dim B\rvert \leq d_\text{GH}(A,B)$, where $d_\text{GH}$ is the Gromov–Hausdorff distance?

If 'No' to the above, are there any sensible formalizations of Chan & Gupta's statement that make their claim of stability precise?


1 Answer 1


I have come to the conclusion that my questions $1$ and $2$ can be seen to be false by considering simple examples in $\mathbb R$. Morally, since doubling dimension takes only integer values, a general stability result is not possible in the sense that I describe.

However, after further reading, I believe what Chan & Gupta are referring to is the robustness result given as Propsition $3$ in "Bypassing the Embedding" by Talwar:

Proposition 3 [Robustness]. Let $(X, d)$ and $(Y, d')$ be metric spaces such that there is a bijective map $f: X \rightarrow Y$ satisfying $d\left(x_1, x_2\right) \leq$ $d' \left(f\left(x_1\right), f\left(x_2\right)\right) \leq D \cdot d\left(x_1, x_2\right)$. Then $k_Y \leq 2 k_X \cdot\lceil\log 4 D\rceil$.

Note that Talwar denotes the doubling dimension of $X$ by $k_{X}$.


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