Analysis of total variation flow and its finite element approximations
Department of Mathematics, The University of Tennessee,
Knoxville, 37996 Tennessee, U.S.A. firstname.lastname@example.org.
2 Department of Mathematics, ETHZ, 8092 Zürich, Switzerland. email@example.com.
Revised: 10 March 2003
We study the gradient flow for the total variation functional, which arises in image processing and geometric applications. We propose a variational inequality weak formulation for the gradient flow, and establish well-posedness of the problem by the energy method. The main idea of our approach is to exploit the relationship between the regularized gradient flow (characterized by a small positive parameter ε, see (1.7)) and the minimal surface flow  and the prescribed mean curvature flow . Since our approach is constructive and variational, finite element methods can be naturally applied to approximate weak solutions of the limiting gradient flow problem. We propose a fully discrete finite element method and establish convergence to the regularized gradient flow problem as h,k → 0, and to the total variation gradient flow problem as h,k,ε → 0 in general cases. Provided that the regularized gradient flow problem possesses strong solutions, which is proved possible if the datum functions are regular enough, we establish practical a priori error estimates for the fully discrete finite element solution, in particular, by focusing on the dependence of the error bounds on the regularization parameter ε. Optimal order error bounds are derived for the numerical solution under the mesh relation k = O(h2). In particular, it is shown that all error bounds depend on only in some lower polynomial order for small ε.
Mathematics Subject Classification: 35B25 / 35K57 / 35Q99 / 65M60 / 65M12
Key words: Bounded variation / gradient flow / variational inequality / equations of prescribed mean curvature and minimal surface / fully discrete scheme / finite element method.
© EDP Sciences, SMAI, 2003