Optimal measure transportation with respect to non-traditional costs

S. Artstein-Avidan, S. Sadovsky*, K. Wyczesany

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We study optimal mass transport problems between two measures with respect to a non-traditional cost function, i.e. a cost c which can attain the value + ∞. We define the notion of c-compatibility and strong c-compatibility of two measures, and prove that if there is a finite-cost plan between the measures then the measures must be c-compatible, and if in addition the two measures are strongly c-compatible, then there is an optimal plan concentrated on a c-subgradient of a c-class function. This function is the so-called potential of the plan. We give two proofs of this theorem, under slightly different assumptions. In the first we utilize the notion of c-path-boundedness, showing that strong c-compatibility implies a strong connectivity result for a directed graph associated with an optimal map. Strong connectivity of the graph implies that the c-cyclic monotonicity of the support set (which follows from classical reasoning) guarantees its c-path-boundedness, implying, in turn, the existence of a potential. We also give a constructive proof, in the case when one of the measures is discrete. This approach adopts a new notion of ‘Hall polytopes’, which we introduce and study in depth, to which we apply a version of Brouwer’s fixed point theorem to prove the existence of a potential in this case.

Original languageEnglish
Article number35
JournalCalculus of Variations and Partial Differential Equations
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023


FundersFunder number
Horizon 2020 Framework Programme770127
European Research Council
Israel Science Foundation784/20
Azrieli Foundation


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