Edge detection from truncated Fourier data using spectral mollifiers

Douglas Cochran, Yang Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Edge detection from a finite number of Fourier coefficients is challenging as it requires extracting local information from global data. The problem is exacerbated when the input data is noisy since accurate high frequency information is critical for detecting edges. The noise furthermore increases oscillations in the Fourier reconstruction of piecewise smooth functions, especially near the discontinuities. The edge detection method in Gelb and Tadmor (Appl Comput Harmon Anal 7:101-135, 1999, SIAM J Numer Anal 38(4):1389-1408, 2000) introduced the idea of "concentration kernels" as a way of converging to the singular support of a piecewise smooth function. The kernels used there, however, and subsequent modifications to reduce the impact of noise, were generally oscillatory, and as a result oscillations were always prevalent in the neighborhoods of the jump discontinuities. This paper revisits concentration kernels, but insists on uniform convergence to the "sharp peaks" of the function, that is, the edge detection method converges to zero away from the jumps without introducing new oscillations near them. We show that this is achievable via an admissible class of spectral mollifiers. Our method furthermore suppresses the oscillations caused by added noise.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)737-762
Number of pages26
JournalAdvances in Computational Mathematics
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2013


  • Edge detection
  • Gibbs phenomenon
  • Poisson summation formula
  • Spectral mollifier
  • Truncated Fourier data

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Mathematics
  • Applied Mathematics


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