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April 3 – 8 , 2011, Dagstuhl Seminar 11142

Innovations for Shape Analysis: Models and Algorithms


Michael Breuß (Universität des Saarlandes, DE)
Alfred M. Bruckstein (Technion – Haifa, IL)
Petros Maragos (National Technical University of Athens, GR)

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The notion of shape is fundamental in image processing and computer vision, as the shape of objects allows the semantic interpretation of image contents. This is also known from human vision, as humans can recognise characteristic objects solely from their shapes. By shape analysis one denotes models and algorithms for detection and processing of shapes in images. It is at the heart of a lot of applications in sciences and engineering.

Thanks to technological progress made within the last decade, there are substantial new challenges in shape analysis: (i) Concerning algorithms that allow the processing of the arising large data sets in acceptable time, and (ii) with respect to adequate shape analysis models that allow for an efficient algorithmic formulation.

The purpose of this seminar was to meet these challenges by bringing together researchers that are engaged in recent and upcoming developments in shape analysis models and numerical computing. As an example, the field of differential geometry has grown to be important for shape analysis during the last years, while a field like deformable shape modelling just begins to influence shape analysis methods. On the algorithmical side, there are many recent innovations that can be important for shape analysis. As examples, let us mention new broadly applicable, efficient fast marching schemes, or graph-based iterative algorithms. The individual areas in shape analysis and numerical computing share an interest in the described techniques. However, modelling is seen as a hot topic in computer science, while numerical computing is often seen as a mathematical domain. Also the various areas within shape analysis research can benefit from the discussion of models and methods that are modern in their respective fields.

The purpose of bringing together researchers from different disciplines was to explore the benefits of a point of view.

  • Researchers in continuous-scale shape analysis brought their knowledge of differential and variational models and the related methods to the meeting.
  • Researchers in discrete shape analysis brought to the meeting their knowledge about the latest techniques in graph-based shape analysis, discrete topology and related optimisation methods.
  • Researchers in numerical computing brought to the meeting their knowledge of numerical techniques and of numerical analysis.

As the demands in the individual fields of shape analysis are high, the research grous in which the most interesting techniques are under development are quite specialised. Because of this, there is no regular conference or workshop that serves as a meeting place for an exchange of ideas of these groups.

The seminar was conducted in a conference style, where every contributor gave a talk of about 20 to 25 minutes. There was much time for extensive discussions in between the talks and in the evenings, and as documented by the very positive evaluation there was generally a very open and constructive atmosphere. While it is at the moment this report is written very difficult to identify a new fundamental aspect of shape analysis as a result of the workshop, lots of interesting aspects were discussed. As we believe, these will inspire novel developments in both modelling and algorithms.

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