Steven (Shlomo) Gortler: A Combinatorial Algorithm for Continuous Variational Problems

Categories: Event

There are many applications where one needs to search for a “function” that has “minimal energy” while satisfying some boundary constraints. As a simple example, consider the problem of finding the minial area soap bubble surface that spans a wireframe boundary. Numerical methods are typically only good at finding local minima to such varational problems.

In this talk, we show how global optima can be found as the limit of a set of purely combinatorial problems. These combinatorial problems can be thought of higher dimensional analogues of the “shortest path in planar graph” problem. For example, when the problem dimension is 3, the combinatorial problem is to find a “discrete minimal surface” in a volumetric cellular complex. We then show how these combinatorial problems can be solved in polynomial time by reducing them to instances of MIN-CUT. If time permits, we will also explore an application of these ideas to 3-camera stereo vision. More information: [](


Thursday, January 12, 2006 - 15:00 to 16:30


DMP 310

When: to

Where: DMP 310 - 6245 Agronomy Rd, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z4

Add to my calendar