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 .
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.”
 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
Earthquake researchers finalists for supercomputing prize
19.11.2018 | University of Tokyo
Putting food-safety detection in the hands of consumers
15.11.2018 | Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Max Planck researchers revel the nano-structure of molecular trains and the reason for smooth transport in cellular antennas.
Moving around, sensing the extracellular environment, and signaling to other cells are important for a cell to function properly. Responsible for those tasks...
Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.
Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...
Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.
Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...
Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.
In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...
On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.
19.11.2018 | Event News
09.11.2018 | Event News
06.11.2018 | Event News
20.11.2018 | Life Sciences
20.11.2018 | Life Sciences
20.11.2018 | Physics and Astronomy