A unifying and canonical description of measure-preserving diffusions


A complete recipe of measure-preserving diffusions in Euclidean space was recently derived unifying several MCMC algorithms into a single framework. In this paper, we develop a geometric theory that improves and generalises this construction to any manifold. We thereby demonstrate that the completeness result is a direct consequence of the topology of the underlying manifold and the geometry induced by the target measure $P$; there is no need to introduce other structures such as a Riemannian metric, local coordinates, or a reference measure. Instead, our framework relies on the intrinsic geometry of $P$ and in particular its canonical derivative, the de-Rham rotationnel, which allows us to parametrise the Fokker–Planck currents of measure-preserving diffusions using potentials. The geometric formalism can easily incorporate constraints and symmetries, and deliver new important insights, for example, a new complete recipe of Langevin-like diffusions that are suited to the construction of samplers. We also analyse the reversibility and dissipative properties of the diffusions, the associated deterministic flow on the space of measures, and the geometry of Langevin processes. Our article connects ideas from various literature and frames the theory of measure-preserving diffusions in its appropriate mathematical context.