Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Shape detection at fault


Software that automatically recognizes surfaces within complex three-dimensional images can benefit petroleum extraction.

The deep cracking faults that lie within the Earth’s crust are significant geologic surfaces for oil exploration and earthquake prediction. A team from KAUST developed an algorithm that smoothly detects faults and other three-dimensional (3-D) surfaces with high computational efficiency even amid noisy and cluttered data sets [1].

A new algorithm that generates smooth 3-D images of underground fault locations makes it easier to find petroleum resources. © 2016 KAUST

Identifying objects in images using geometric curves is critical to many computer vision applications. One method uses fast marching algorithms that track how interfaces evolve with time from an initial seed point. This technique uses efficient computational routines to expand the seed curve step-by-step until mathematical conditions corresponding to a boundary are met—the steep slope of a cliff, for instance.

Requiring software users to define probable surface boundaries, however, makes it tricky to use fast marching algorithms for complex 3-D problems.

“It’s a challenge to extract a surface from an image volume when the boundary is non-empty and unknown,” explained Ganesh Sundaramoorthi from the University’s Computer, Electrical and Mathematical Science and Engineering Division. “Until now, no algorithm could handle this task.”

Sundaramoorthi and colleague Marei Algarni recently developed software known as SurfCut to solve these issues. The pair realized that for two-dimensional (2-D) objects, a small curve from a seed point can trace out the surface and automatically stop along the boundary. However, performing the equivalent operations in 3-D required a new approach based on topology, or the mathematical descriptions of features that are preserved under deformation.

The new analysis program uses fast marching methods to compute the shortest paths between a seed point and a moving interface. Ridge sets are then computed by retracting the interface until rigid topological features emerge. These features are likely to lie on the surface, and the team’s algorithm extracts them to efficiently determine 3-D surfaces.

“Our idea embeds 3-D curves on the surface as ridges of a moving front, and we watch the curves evolve as the front propagates,” noted Sundaramoorthi. “Ridge sets are difficult to extract from realistic images, which are discrete and noisy, but our algorithm makes this operation feasible.”

To demonstrate the usefulness of SurfCut, the researchers analyzed a series of seismic images and generated new underground 3-D maps with stunning clarity. “Understanding complex fault surfaces can be hard, even for expert geologists,” Sundaramoorthi said. “Our technique allows them to see structures that are impossible to view using 2-D slices, and is really robust against data imperfections. This could directly impact the oil industry.”

Associated links

Journal information

[1] Algarni, M. & Sundaramoorthi, G. SurfCut: Free-boundary surface extraction. European Conference on Computer Vision (ECCV), Springer, October 2016, in press.

Michelle D'Antoni | Research SEA
Further information:

Further reports about: Computer Vision Earth’s crust KAUST algorithm developed software surfaces

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Fraunhofer FIT joins Facebook's Telecom Infra Project
25.10.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Informationstechnik FIT

nachricht Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions
21.10.2016 | Stanford University

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

How nanoscience will improve our health and lives in the coming years

27.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

OU-led team discovers rare, newborn tri-star system using ALMA

27.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

'Neighbor maps' reveal the genome's 3-D shape

27.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>