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“Laplace-Beltrami Eigenfunctions: Towards an Algorithm that Understands Geometry”
Bruno Levy
IEEE International Conference on Shape Modeling and Applications, invited talk, 2006

Abstract: One of the challenges in geometry processing is to automatically reconstruct a higher-level representation from raw geometric data. For instance, computing a parameterization of an object helps attaching information to it and converting between various representations. More generally, this family of problems may be thought of in terms of constructing structured function bases attached to surfaces. In this paper, we study a specific type of hierarchical function bases, defined by the eigenfunctions of the Laplace-Beltrami operator. When applied to a sphere, this function basis corresponds to the classical spherical harmonics. On more general objects, this defines a function basis well adapted to the geometry and the topology of the object. Based on physical analogies (vibration modes), we first give an intuitive view before explaining the underlying theory. We then explain in practice how to compute an approximation of the eigenfunctions of a differential operator, and show possible applications in geometry processing.

BibTex reference

   AUTHOR     = "Bruno Levy",
   TITLE      = "Laplace-Beltrami Eigenfunctions: Towards an Algorithm that Understand
                   s Geometry",
   BOOKTITLE  = "IEEE International Conference on Shape Modeling and Applications, inv
                   ited talk",
   YEAR       = "2006",

Supplemental material, links, hindsight ...

Further reading

  • See also our book Polygon Mesh Processing , Botsch, Kobbelt, Pauly, Alliez and Levy, AK Peters. Chapter 3 (Differential Geometry) and Chapter 4 (Smoothing, Fourrier transform and Manifold Harmonics, diffusion flow, fairing ...).
  • We also developped efficient numerical methods to compute the eigenfunctions, see this tech report, later published as a Eurographics paper . Additional references are listed there.