Generalized barycenters and variance maximization on metric spaces

Research paper by Brendan Pass

Indexed on: 05 Jun '20Published on: 29 May '20Published in: arXiv - Mathematics - Probability


We show that the variance of a probability measure $\mu$ on a compact subset $X$ of a complete metric space $M$ is bounded by the square of the circumradius $R$ of the canonical embedding of $X$ into the space $P(M)$ of probability measures on $M$, equipped with the Wasserstein metric. When barycenters of measures on $X$ are unique (such as on CAT($0$) spaces), our approach shows that $R$ in fact coincides with the circumradius of $X$ and so this result extends a recent result of Lim-McCann from Euclidean space. Our approach involves bi-linear minimax theory on $P(X) \times P(M)$ and extends easily to the case when the variance is replaced by very general moments. As an application, we provide a simple proof of Jung's theorem on CAT($k$) spaces, a result originally due to Dekster and Lang-Schroeder.