Solving variational problems and partial differential equations that map between manifolds via the closest point method

Research paper by Nathan D. King, Steven J. Ruuth

Indexed on: 10 Mar '17Published on: 10 Feb '17Published in: Journal of Computational Physics


Maps from a source manifold MM to a target manifold NN appear in liquid crystals, color image enhancement, texture mapping, brain mapping, and many other areas. A numerical framework to solve variational problems and partial differential equations (PDEs) that map between manifolds is introduced within this paper. Our approach, the closest point method for manifold mapping, reduces the problem of solving a constrained PDE between manifolds MM and NN to the simpler problems of solving a PDE on MM and projecting to the closest points on NN. In our approach, an embedding PDE is formulated in the embedding space using closest point representations of MM and NN. This enables the use of standard Cartesian numerics for general manifolds that are open or closed, with or without orientation, and of any codimension. An algorithm is presented for the important example of harmonic maps and generalized to a broader class of PDEs, which includes p-harmonic maps. Improved efficiency and robustness are observed in convergence studies relative to the level set embedding methods. Harmonic and p-harmonic maps are computed for a variety of numerical examples. In these examples, we denoise texture maps, diffuse random maps between general manifolds, and enhance color images.

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