Center for Applied Mathematics Colloquium

Irene FonsecaCarnegie Mellon University
From Phase Separation in Heterogeneous Media to Learning Training Schemes for Image Denoising

Friday, March 15, 2024 - 3:45pm
Rhodes 655

What do these two themes have in common? Both are treated variationally, both deal with energies of different dimensionalities, and concepts of geometric measure theory prevail in both.

Phase Separation in Heterogeneous Media: Modern technologies and biological systems, such as temperature-responsive polymers and lipid rafts, take advantage of engineered inclusions, or natural heterogeneities of the medium, to obtain novel composite materials with specific physical properties. To model such situations using a variational approach based on the gradient theory of phase transitions, the potential and the wells may have to depend on the spatial position, even in a discontinuous way, and different regimes should be considered.

In the critical case case where the scale of the small heterogeneities is of the same order of the scale governing the phase transition and the wells are fixed, the interaction between homogenization and the phase transitions process leads to an anisotropic interfacial energy. The supercritical case for fixed wells is also addressed, now leading to an isotropic interfacial energy. In the subcritical case with moving wells, where the heterogeneities of the material are of a larger scale than that of the diffuse interface between different phases, it is observed that there is no macroscopic phase separation and that thermal fluctuations play a role in the formation of nanodomains.

This is joint work with Riccardo Cristoferi (Radboud University, The Netherlands) and Likhit Ganedi (Aachen University, Germany), USA), based on previous results also obtained with Adrian Hagerty (USA) and Cristina Popovici (USA).

Learning Training Schemes for Image Denoising: Due to their ability to handle discontinuous images while having a well-understood behavior, regularizations with total variation (TV) and total generalized variation (TGV) are some of the best known methods in image denoising. However, like other variational models including a fidelity term, they crucially depend on the choice of their tuning parameters. A remedy is to choose these automatically through multilevel approaches, for example by optimizing performance on noisy/clean image training pairs. Such methods with space-dependent parameters which are piecewise constant on dyadic grids are considered, with the grid itself being part of the minimization. Existence of minimizers for discontinuous parameters is established, and it is shown that box constraints for the values of the parameters lead to existence of finite optimal partitions. Improved performance on some representative test images when compared with constant optimized parameters is demonstrated.

This is joint work with Elisa Davoli (TU Wien, Austria), Jose Iglesias (U. Twente, The Netherlands) and Rita Ferreira (KAUST, Saudi Arabia)