Image restoration: Wavelet frame shrinkage, nonlinear evolution PDEs, and beyond

Bin Dong, Qingtang Jiang, Zuowei Shen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Scopus citations


In the past few decades, mathematics based approaches have been widely adopted in various image restoration problems; the partial differential equation (PDE) based approach (e.g., the total variation model [L. Rudin, S. Osher, and E. Fatemi, Phys. D, 60 (1992), pp. 259-268] and its generalizations, nonlinear diffusions [P. Perona and J. Malik, IEEE Trans. Pattern Anal. Mach. Intel., 12 (1990), pp. 629-639; F. Catte et al., SIAM J. Numer. Anal., 29 (1992), pp. 182-193], etc.) and wavelet frame based approach are some successful examples. These approaches were developed through different paths and generally provided understanding from different angles of the same problem. As shown in numerical simulations, implementations of the wavelet frame based approach and the PDE based approach quite often end up solving a similar numerical problem with similar numerical behaviors, even though different approaches have advantages in different applications. Since wavelet frame based and PDE based approaches have all been modeling the same types of problems with success, it is natural to ask whether the wavelet frame based approach is fundamentally connected with the PDE based approach when we trace them all the way back to their roots. A fundamental connection of a wavelet frame based approach with a total variation model and its generalizations was established in [J. Cai, B. Dong, S. Osher, and Z. Shen, J. Amer. Math. Soc., 25 (2012), pp. 1033-1089]. This connection gives the wavelet frame based approach a geometric explanation and, at the same time, it equips a PDE based approach with a time frequency analysis. Cai et al. showed that a special type of wavelet frame model using generic wavelet frame systems can be regarded as an approximation of a generic variational model (with the total variation model as a special case) in the discrete setting. A systematic convergence analysis, as the resolution of the image goes to infinity, which is the key step in linking the two approaches, is also given in Cai et al. Motivated by Cai et al. and [Q. Jiang, Appl. Numer. Math., 62 (2012), pp. 51-66], this paper establishes a fundamental connection between the wavelet frame based approach and nonlinear evolution PDEs, provides interpretations and analytical studies of such connections, and proposes new algorithms for image restoration based on the new understandings. Together with the results in [J. Cai et al., J. Amer. Math. Soc., 25 (2012), pp. 1033-1089], we now have a better picture of how the wavelet frame based approach can be used to interpret the general PDE based approach (e.g., the variational models or nonlinear evolution PDEs) and can be used as a new and useful tool in numerical analysis to discretize and solve various variational and PDE models. To be more precise, we shall establish the following: (1) The connections between wavelet frame shrinkage and nonlinear evolution PDEs provide new and inspiring interpretations of both approaches that enable us to derive new PDE models and (better) wavelet frame shrinkage algorithms for image restoration. (2) A generic nonlinear evolution PDE (of parabolic or hyperbolic type) can be approximated by wavelet frame shrinkage with properly chosen wavelet frame systems and carefully designed shrinkage functions. (3) The main idea of this work is beyond the scope of image restoration. Our analysis and discussions indicate that wavelet frame shrinkage is a new way of solving PDEs in general, which will provide a new insight that will enrich the existing theory and applications of numerical PDEs, as well as those of wavelet frames.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)606-660
Number of pages55
JournalMultiscale Modeling and Simulation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


  • Image restoration
  • Nonlinear diffusion
  • Wavelet frame shrinkage
  • Wavelet frames

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Ecological Modeling
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Computer Science Applications

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