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  1. In the plane, thewinding numberis the number of times a curve wraps around a given point. Winding numbers are a basic component of geometric algorithms such as point-in-polygon tests, and their generalization to data with noise or topological errors has proven valuable for geometry processing tasks ranging from surface reconstruction to mesh booleans. However, standard definitions do not immediately apply on surfaces, where not all curves bound regions. We develop a meaningful generalization, starting with the well-known relationship between winding numbers and harmonic functions. By processing the derivatives of such functions, we can robustly filter out components of the input that do not bound any region. Ultimately, our algorithm yields (i) a closed, completed version of the input curves, (ii) integer labels for regions that are meaningfully bounded by these curves, and (iii) the complementary curves that do not bound any region. The main computational cost is solving a standard Poisson equation, or for surfaces with nontrivial topology, a sparse linear program. We also introduce special basis functions to represent singularities that naturally occur at endpoints of open curves.

     
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2024
  2. Grid-free Monte Carlo methods based on thewalk on spheres (WoS)algorithm solve fundamental partial differential equations (PDEs) like the Poisson equation without discretizing the problem domain or approximating functions in a finite basis. Such methods hence avoid aliasing in the solution, and evade the many challenges of mesh generation. Yet for problems with complex geometry, practical grid-free methods have been largely limited to basic Dirichlet boundary conditions. We introduce thewalk on stars (WoSt)algorithm, which solves linear elliptic PDEs with arbitrary mixed Neumann and Dirichlet boundary conditions. The key insight is that one can efficiently simulate reflecting Brownian motion (which models Neumann conditions) by replacing the balls used by WoS withstar-shapeddomains. We identify such domains via the closest point on the visibility silhouette, by simply augmenting a standard bounding volume hierarchy with normal information. Overall, WoSt is an easy modification of WoS, and retains the many attractive features of grid-free Monte Carlo methods such as progressive and view-dependent evaluation, trivial parallelization, and sublinear scaling to increasing geometric detail.

     
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2024
  3. Grid-free Monte Carlo methods such aswalk on spherescan be used to solve elliptic partial differential equations without mesh generation or global solves. However, such methods independently estimate the solution at every point, and hence do not take advantage of the high spatial regularity of solutions to elliptic problems. We propose a fast caching strategy which first estimates solution values and derivatives at randomly sampled points along the boundary of the domain (or a local region of interest). These cached values then provide cheap, output-sensitive evaluation of the solution (or its gradient) at interior points, via a boundary integral formulation. Unlike classic boundary integral methods, our caching scheme introduces zero statistical bias and does not require a dense global solve. Moreover we can handle imperfect geometry (e.g., with self-intersections) and detailed boundary/source terms without repairing or resampling the boundary representation. Overall, our scheme is similar in spirit tovirtual point lightmethods from photorealistic rendering: it suppresses the typical salt-and-pepper noise characteristic of independent Monte Carlo estimates, while still retaining the many advantages of Monte Carlo solvers: progressive evaluation, trivial parallelization, geometric robustness,etc.We validate our approach using test problems from visual and geometric computing.

     
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2024
  4. This paper describes a method for fast simplification of surface meshes. Whereas past methods focus on visual appearance, our goal is to solve equations on the surface. Hence, rather than approximate the extrinsic geometry, we construct a coarseintrinsic triangulationof the input domain. In the spirit of thequadric error metric (QEM), we perform greedy decimation while agglomerating global information about approximation error. In lieu of extrinsic quadrics, however, we store intrinsic tangent vectors that track how far curvature drifts during simplification. This process also yields a bijective map between the fine and coarse mesh, and prolongation operators for both scalar- and vector-valued data. Moreover, we obtain hard guarantees on element quality via intrinsic retriangulation---a feature unique to the intrinsic setting. The overall payoff is a black box approach to geometry processing, which decouples mesh resolution from the size of matrices used to solve equations. We show how our method benefits several fundamental tasks, including geometric multigrid, all-pairs geodesic distance, mean curvature flow, geodesic Voronoi diagrams, and the discrete exponential map.

     
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2024
  5. Partial differential equations (PDEs) with spatially varying coefficients arise throughout science and engineering, modeling rich heterogeneous material behavior. Yet conventional PDE solvers struggle with the immense complexity found in nature, since they must first discretize the problem---leading to spatial aliasing, and global meshing/sampling that is costly and error-prone. We describe a method that approximates neither the domain geometry, the problem data, nor the solution space, providing the exact solution (in expectation) even for problems with extremely detailed geometry and intricate coefficients. Our main contribution is to extend the walk on spheres (WoS) algorithm from constant- to variable-coefficient problems, by drawing on techniques from volumetric rendering. In particular, an approach inspired by null-scattering yields unbiased Monte Carlo estimators for a large class of 2nd order elliptic PDEs, which share many attractive features with Monte Carlo rendering: no meshing, trivial parallelism, and the ability to evaluate the solution at any point without solving a global system of equations. 
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  6. We introduce a new general-purpose approach to deep learning on three-dimensional surfaces based on the insight that a simple diffusion layer is highly effective for spatial communication. The resulting networks are automatically robust to changes in resolution and sampling of a surface—a basic property that is crucial for practical applications. Our networks can be discretized on various geometric representations, such as triangle meshes or point clouds, and can even be trained on one representation and then applied to another. We optimize the spatial support of diffusion as a continuous network parameter ranging from purely local to totally global, removing the burden of manually choosing neighborhood sizes. The only other ingredients in the method are a multi-layer perceptron applied independently at each point and spatial gradient features to support directional filters. The resulting networks are simple, robust, and efficient. Here, we focus primarily on triangle mesh surfaces and demonstrate state-of-the-art results for a variety of tasks, including surface classification, segmentation, and non-rigid correspondence. 
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  7. This paper describes a numerical method for surface parameterization, yielding maps that are locally injective and discretely conformal in an exact sense. Unlike previous methods for discrete conformal parameterization, the method is guaranteed to work for any manifold triangle mesh, with no restrictions on triangulatiothat each task can be formulated as a convex problem where the triangulation is allowed to change---we complete the picture by introducing the machinery needed to actually construct a discrete conformal map. In particular, we introduce a new scheme for tracking correspondence between triangulations based on normal coordinates , and a new interpolation procedure based on layout in the light cone. Stress tests involving difficult cone configurations and near-degenerate triangulations indicate that the method is extremely robust in practice, and provides high-quality interpolation even on meshes with poor elements. 
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  8. This course provides a first introduction to intrinsic triangulations and their use in mesh processing algorithms. As geometric data becomes more ubiquitous, e.g., in applications such as augmented reality or machine learning, there is a pressing need to develop algorithms that work reliably on low-quality data. Intrinsic triangulations provide a powerful framework for these problems, by de-coupling the mesh used to encode geometry from the one used for computation. The basic shift in perspective is to encode the geometry of a mesh not in terms of ordinary vertex positions, but instead only in terms of edge lengths. Intrinsic triangulations have a long history in mathematics, but only in recent years have been applied to practical geometric computing. The course begins by giving motivation for intrinsic triangulations in terms of recent problems in computer graphics, followed by an interactive coding session where participants can make first contact with the idea of intrinsic meshes. We then give some mathematical background, and describe key data structures (overlay, signpost, normal coordinates). Using this machinery, we translate algorithms from computational geometry and scientific computing into cutting-edge algorithms for curved surfaces. For instance, we look at mesh parameterization, vector field processing, finding geodesics, solving partial differential equations (PDEs), and more. We also discuss processing of nonmanifold meshes and point clouds; participants can explore these algorithms via interactive demos. We conclude with a discussion of open questions and opportunities for future work. 
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