Communications in Mathematical Sciences

Volume 8 (2010)

Number 4

Coarsening in high order, discrete, ill-posed diffusion equations

Pages: 797 – 834



Catherine Kublik


We study the discrete version of a family of ill-posed, nonlinear diffusion equations of order $2n$. The fourth order $(n=2)$ version of these equations constitutes our main motivation, as it appears prominently in image processing and computer vision literature. It was proposed by You and Kaveh as a model for denoising images while maintaining sharp object boundaries (edges). The second order equation $(n=1)$ corresponds to another famous model from image processing, namely Perona and Malik's anisotropic diffusion, and was studied in earlier papers. The equations studied in this paper are high order analogues of the Perona-Malik equation, and like the second order model, their continuum versions violate parabolicity and hence lack well-posedness theory. We follow a recent technique from Kohn and Otto, and prove a weak upper bound on the coarsening rate of the discrete in space version of these high order equations in any space dimension, for a large class of diffusivities. Numerical experiments indicate that the bounds are close to being optimal, and are typically observed.


Backward diffusion equations; coarsening; image processing; Perona-Malik model; You-Kaveh model

2010 Mathematics Subject Classification

35G20, 35K55

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