The problem of distance computation arises in many applications including motion planning, CAD/CAM, dynamic simulation and virtual environments. Most prior work in this area has been restricted to separation or penetration distance computation between two objects. In this paper, we address the problem of computing a measure of distance between two configurations of a rigid or articulated model. The underlying distance metric is defined as the length of the longest displacement vector over the corresponding vertices of the model between two configurations. Our algorithm is based on Chasles theorem in Screw theory, and we show that the maximum distance can be realized only by a vertex of the convex hull of a rigid object. We use this formulation to compute the distance, and present two acceleration techniques to speed up the computation: incremental walking on the dual space of the convex hull and culling vertices on the convex hull using a bounding volume hierarchy (BVH). Our algorithm can be easily extended to articulated models by maximizing the distance over its each link and we also present culling techniques to accelerate the computation. We highlight the performance of our algorithm on many complex models and describe its application to proximity queries and motion planning.