What is Python Mapper?

The Mapper algorithm is a method for topological data analysis invented by Gurjeet Singh, Facundo Mémoli and Gunnar Carlsson. See the Reference [R1] for the publication. While the Mapper algorithm alone does not constitute a complete data analysis tool itself, it is the key part of a processing chain with (minimally) filter functions, the Mapper algorithm itself and visualization of the results.

Python Mapper is a realization of this toolchain, written by Daniel Müllner and Aravindakshan Babu. It is open source software and is released under the GNU GPLv3 license.

There is also a company, Ayasdi, which was founded by Gurjeet Singh, Gunnar Carlsson and Harlan Sexton and whose main product, the Ayasdi Iris software, has the Mapper algorithm at its core. Ayasdi also issues academic trial licenses.

As much as Ayasdi covers the commercial uses of the Mapper algorithm with a polished and mature product, the authors of Python Mapper strive to provide the scientific community with a complete, extensible and fast toolchain. Since it is open source, it can be extended and modified by anyone with new ideas. The Python Mapper software also provides a graphical user interface, which hopefully makes it accessible to non-specialists and speeds up the workflow for beginners and experts alike.

To get an idea about the Mapper algorithm, we recommend Gunnar Carlsson’s paper “Topology and Data” [R5] and the original Mapper paper [R1].

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