A Progressive Approach to Scalar Field Topology

Jules Vidal, Pierre Guillou, Julien Tierny

View presentation:2021-10-28T13:15:00ZGMT-0600Change your timezone on the schedule page
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We present fast coarse-to-fine algorithms for the progressive computation of topological representations of a scalar field, namely the critical points and the persistence diagram. Our method enables the fast and interactive exploration of the topological features of a scalar field.
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Topological data analysis, scalar data, progressive visualization.


This paper introduces progressive algorithms for the topological analysis of scalar data. Our approach is based on a hierarchical representation of the input data and the fast identification of topologically invariant vertices, which are vertices that have no impact on the topological description of the data and for which we show that no computation is required as they are introduced in the hierarchy. This enables the definition of efficient coarse-to-fine topological algorithms, which leverage fast update mechanisms for ordinary vertices and avoid computation for the topologically invariant ones. We demonstrate our approach with two examples of topological algorithms (critical point extraction and persistence diagram computation), which generate interpretable outputs upon interruption requests and which progressively refine them otherwise. Experiments on real-life datasets illustrate that our progressive strategy, in addition to the continuous visual feedback it provides, even improves run time performance with regard to non-progressive algorithms and we describe further accelerations with shared-memory parallelism. We illustrate the utility of our approach in batch-mode and interactive setups, where it respectively enables the control of the execution time of complete topological pipelines as well as previews of the topological features found in a dataset, with progressive updates delivered within interactive times.