GALAAD2 Research team
There is a shared vision that our day life environment will increasingly interact with a digital world, populated by captors, sensors, or devices used to simplify or improve some of our activities. Digital cameras, positioning systems, mobile phones, internet web interfaces are such typical examples which are nowadays completely standard tools. Interconnected with each other, these devices are producing, exchanging or processing digital data in order to interact with the physical world. Computing is becoming ubiquitous and this evolution raises new challenges to represent, analyze and transform this digital information.
From this perspective, geometry is playing an important role. There is a strong interaction between physical and digital worlds through geometric modeling and analysis. Understanding a physical phenomenon can be done by analyzing numerical simulations on a digital representation of the geometry. Conversely developing digital geometry (as in Computer Aided Geometric Design – CAGD for short) is nowadays used to produce devices to overcome some physical difficulties (car, planes, ...). Obviously, geometry is not addressing directly problems related to storage or transmission of information, but it deals with structured and efficient representations of this information and methods to compute with these models.
Within this context, our research program aims at developing new and efficient methods for modeling geometry with algebraic representations. We don't see shapes just as set of points with simple neighbor information. In our investigations, we use richer algebraic models which provide structured and compact representation of the geometry, while being able to encode their important characteristic features.
The first challenge to be addressed is how to move from the digital world to an algebraic world. Our objective is to develop efficient methods which can transform digital data produced by cameras, laser scanners, observations or simulations into algebraic models involving few parameters. This is a way to structure the digital information and to further exploit its properties. This methodological investigations are connected with practical problems such as compression of data for exchange of geometric information, accurate description and simulation with manufactured objects, shape optimization in computer aided design, ...
A second challenge concerns operations and transformations on these algebraic representations. They require the development of dedicated techniques which fully exploit the algebraic characteristics of these representations. The theoretical foundations of our investigations are in algebraic geometry. This domain deals with the solutions of algebraic equations and its effective aspect concerns algorithms to compute and analyze them. It is an old, important and very active part of mathematics. Its combination with algorithmic developments for algebraic computation leads to new methods to treat effectively geometric problems. These investigations result in new contributions in commutative algebra, new algorithms in computer algebra, complexity analyses and/or software development for practical experimentation.
The third challenge is how to analyze and understand digital geometric data. In this approach, constructing algebraic representation and developing methods to compute with these models are the preliminary steps of our analysis process. The goal is to develop methods to extract some type of information we are searching from this data, such as topological descriptions, subdivisions in smooth components and adjacency relations, decomposition in irreducible components. The interplay between algebraic models and numerical computation is central in this activity. A main issue concerns the approximation of models and the certification of the computation.