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Me, Donoho, and Chui

Me, Donoho, and Chui

Ming-Jun Lai's Homepage



MULTIVARIATE SPLINES One of my main interests lies in the theory and application of multivariate splines which I have studied for over twenty years. One of the reasons that multivariate splines have interested me for so long is that it is a fundamental tool for approximating any known or unknown functions.They can be very flexible in approximating functions in the sense that one can use splines of any degree, any smoothness over any triangulation/tetrahedral partitions. Typical applications are scattered data fitting and interpolations over scattered locations, numerical solutions of partial differential equations over domain of irregular shape, image enhancements, smooth curves and surface reconstruction, and data forecasting. Numerical Analysis, Scientific Computation, and Applied Mathematics in general need such a tool. In theory, I mainly study the approximation properties of multivariate splines, construction of locally supported spline functions, approximation properties of data fitting using multivariate splines, how to implement them efficiently, computational schemes using multivariate splines for applications. A typical paper that represents my work is On the Approximation Power of Bivariate Splines. They have various applications in data fittingsmooth surface reconstruction from given data and hole filling in Computer Aided Geometric Design, numerical solution of PDE, e.g. Fluid Flow Simulation, and in geodetic application, e.g. geopotential reconstruction. Bivariate Splines can be used for image enhancements as seen in these numerical results. I have used bivariate splines for statistical applications, e.g. to forecast ozone concentration level at Atlanta based on spatial data around Atlanta. We are able to predict the level of ozone concentration very well. In particular, a usefulness of these multivariate splines can be seen in a Ph.D. dissertation at the aerospace engineering department of Delft University of Technology, Netherlands. Their usage for a global system of identification based on a NASA wind tunnel dataset and other data sets demonstrates their excellence, much better than other data fitting methods. See Visser's Dissertation for detail. For another example, trivariate splines have been useful for study of extending battery life by finding optimal parameters from spline interpolation of experimental data values.

"SPLINE FUNCTIONS ON TRIANGULATIONS" Larry Schumaker and I wrote a monograph "Spline Functions on Triangulations" together which was published by Cambridge University Press in 2007.

WAVELETS I have used multivariate box splines to construct various wavelet functions and studied their application for image processing. My interest is to construct various compactly supported biorthogonal waveletstight wavelet framesorthonormal wavelets in Sobolev spaces, and pre-wavelets in the multivariate setting using multivariate box splines. The regularity of these wavelets are inherited from the box spline functions used. Tight wavelet frames based on bivariate box splines are implemented and used for image edge detection and denoising. In addition, orthonormal waveletsorthonormal multi-wavelets were constructed.

PDE/NUMERICAL PDE I have used bivariate splines to numerically solve 2D Navier-Stokes equations, 2D Helmholtz equation with large wave number over bounded domains and exterior domain problems , 2D nonlinear biharmonic equations associated to a model for thin-films which are similar to Ginzburg-Laudau equations. I have used bivariate splines, finite element and finite difference methods to solve time dependent and steady state nonlinear PDE associated with ROF model for image denoising. In addition to the use of wavelets for image processing, I am also interested in the PDE approach for image denoising, mainly using bivariate splines to solve the nonlinear PDE associated with ROF model for image denoising and use the approach for image resizing, image imprinting, and image enhancements. Some numerical results can be found here

An application of multivariate splines for Fluid Flow Simulation won me a research medal from the University of Georgia in 2002. The representative paper is Bivariate Splines for Fluid Flows. In this paper, many standard fluid flows, e.g. cavity flows, backward step flows, flows around a circular object with various Reynolds numbers are simulated. In particular, a cavity flow over a triangular domain is simulated. Flows passing through a narrowed channel is simulated. Bivariate splines of various degrees were used in various simulations. The highest degree I used is 12. In fact, the degree of splines is an input variable and my matlab code is programmed for arbitrary degree $d\ge 1$, for arbitrary smoothness $r\ge 0$ and arbitrary triangulation $\triangle$.

MULTIVARIATE SPLINE APPROXIMATION Currently, I am using bivariate splines to approximate the functions in ill-posed problems, e.g., de-convolution, to approximate functions of bounded variation (BV), to approximate probability density functions(PDF), and to approximate measurable functions (Learning Theory). More results are coming up soon.

POLYGONAL SPLINES The concept of spline functions over triangulation has been extended to spline functions over polygonal paritions. Michael Floater and I have used generalized barycentric coordinates(GBC) to construct continuous vertex splines over polygonal partition. See continuous polygonal splines of any degree and its numerical solution of the Poisson equation. A demo matlab code can be downloaded at the publication section of this webpage. case1case2Smooth vertex splines are being constructed by James Lanterman, one of my former Ph.D.s. We are able to use them for surface constructions. See for surface construction, e.g. suitcase corners. That is, given three surfaces(in red, yellow and blue), we are able to construct a smooth connecting surface at the corner.

COMPRESSIVE SENSING, SPARSE SOLUTION OF UNDERDETERMINED LINEAR SYSTEM, LOW-RANK MATRIX/TENSOR COMPLETION, PHASELESS RETRIEVAL I am also interested in sparest solutions of undetermined linear systems and their applications in compressed sensing, low-rank matrix recovery and graph clustering/community detection. In my joint paper with Simon Foucart, we show how to use quasi norm lq, 0 < q ≤ 1 to find the sparsest solution. This paper has many citations, more than 680 citations on Google Scholar since its publication. I have worked with W. T. Yin on unconstrained lq minimization for sparse vector recovery and matrix completion recently. Three joint papers have been published: Improved Iteratively Reweighted Least Squares for Unconstrained Smoothed lq Minimization and Augmented l1 and Nuclear Norm Models with a Globally Linearly Convergent Algorithm. In addition, I have several other preprints and reprints on this topic available on-line at my publication section of this page. I have worked with the group led by Dr. Jieping Ye on matrix completion and tensor completion. One joint paper has been published: Orthgonal Rank-One Matrix Pursuit for Low Rank Matrix Completion It is believed that the algorithm in our paper is the most efficient algorithm for matrix completion. I have worked with Daniel Mckenzie to use compressive sensing techniques for finding graph clusters/communities. See our paper for detail. Our algorithm is also the most efficient one so far. For example, we can use a sparse solution method to classify images. See an example on the left. For phase retrieval problem, with collaborators Meng Huang, Abraham Varghese, and Zhiqiang Xu, I have developed a DC (difference of convex functions) based method. Numerical performance is excellent in the sense that we can retrieve the exact solution of size n based on 2n measurements for real valued signals and 3n measurements for complex valued signals with large successful rate. For sparse solution of sparsity s which is less than n, we can retrieve it using 1.5n measurements with high probability. See for detail. Most recently, Yang Wang and I pulished a monograph on compressive sensing. The title is Sparse Solutions of Underdetermined Linear Systems and Their Applications. . Please check it out.


CLASSES I teach many courses for undergraduate and graduate students. For graduate students I mainly teach Advanced Numerical Analysis courses such as Numerical Linear Algebra, Numerical Approximation, Numerical Solution of PDE's, Wavelets Analysis, Multivariate Splines, and Optimization.

STUDENTS Twenty Ph.D. students have graduated under my supervision. They are in order of seniority, Dr. Wenjie He, Dr. Xiangming Xu, Dr. Gerard Awanou, Dr. V.Baramidze, Dr. K. Nam, Dr. J. Zhou, Dr. O. Cho, Dr. H. P. Liu, Dr. J. B. Wu, Dr. Bree Ettinger, Dr. Louis Y. Liu, Dr. Jane Hong, Dr. Leopold Matamba Messi, Dr. George Slavov, Dr. Abrahm Varghese, Dr. James Lanterman, Dr. Daniel Mckenzie, Dr. Clayton Mersmann, and Dr. Yidong Xu.

Dr. Wenjie He is currently an associate professor at the University of Missouri, St. Louis. Dr. Xiangming Xu is a chief scientist in a company working on signal and image communications. The research work of Dr. Awanou's dissertation won him the best student paper award from ACM. Dr. Awanou won a prestigious Sloan fellowship in 2009. He is now a full Professor at University of Illinois, Chicago. V. Baramidze obtained the Graduate Student Excellence in Research Award from the University of Georgia and is an associate professor at Western Illinois University. Dr. Ettinger went to Milan, Italy for a postdoc for two years and is now back to U.S. working at Emory University. Dr. L. Yang Liu was a post-doc at Michigan State University and now works in Shenzheng, China. Dr. Matamba Messi was a post-doc at Mathematical Biology Institute at Ohio State University and now works at a bank. Dr. G. Slavov works at an Hedge fund compnay. Dr. Varghese works as an assistant professor at a religion universion because of his religion. Dr. Jay Lanterman works for HTP using his computational skilles. Dr. Clayton Mersmann is an instructor of University of South Florida at St. Petersburg. Dr. Yidong Xu returns his hometown Shanghai, China to work. Dr. Daniel Mckenzie is a postdoc at University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Kenneth Allenwas an intern at Oak Ridge National Labs before graduation in Dec. 2021. More detail can be found at STUENTS . In addition, I have supervised 7 undergraduate students, Katie Agle, Dustin Burns, Coop Cunliffe, Grant Fiddyment, Max Mautner, and Tarik Trent in an NSF REU program during the summer of 2008. Their research work can be found here.

personal information

I was born and raised in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China. In my opinion, Hangzhou is one of the most beautiful cities in China. I received my Bachelor's Degree from Hangzhou University which is now a part of Zhejiang University. In 1984, I went to Texas A&M University for my graduate studies and began my life in United States of America. After obtaining my Ph.D. in 1989, I continued on to the University of Utah for three years of postdoctoral training. Since 1992, I have been working at University of Georgia . I was promoted to a full professor in 2000 and have supervised a dozen of Ph.D. students and four master degree students since. In May, 2013, I won a McCay award from my department for the service I have done for the department. While teaching both undergraduate and graduate level classes at Math. Dept. of UGA , I have visited many places in the U.S. and several places around the world to present talks, attend professional conferences, and collaborate on research projects, but I always take the opportunity to go back to my hometown; every year for the last 15 years, I have visited Hangzhou and presented talks at Zhejiang University every year.

My wife and I both work at UGA, and have raised two great kids, Ruby and Michael. Both of whom received great education, one went to Harvard University and one went to Princeton University for their undergraduate study. Ruby graduated from Harvard University with Bachelor of Science and Master degree in Physics and Chemistry in 2012. She was a Ph.D. student in Stanford Univ., holding an NSF graduate fellowship and a Hertz Foundation fellowship. Ruby got her Ph.D. from Stanford in June, 2018 and now works for the Gates foundation. Michael graduated from Princeton University with a BSE. He works for Google, Inc. in Mountain View, California since 2014. He received three TI awards from the company because his technical innovations save the company a lot of money. He was promoted to an L6 engineer in 2020.

I like gardening and have planted hundred trees and bushes as well as numerous flowers around my house since we moved in the house we built. See the backyard.

My Erdos number is 2 and my h-index is 10 as Aug. 10, 2011. That is, at least 10 papers each of which has been cited 10 times based on AMS MathSciNet. As 2020, my h-index becomes 36. See google scholars for more citation information.

I like to read mathematics books. They like a noval to me. See a list of few books I have read rather thoroughly.

Finally, I would like to thank you for visiting my webpage with a token (a power point show of lily flowers). Check hehua.pps at the Downloads of your computer to view if it does not pop up automatically.