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A Cautionary Tale: Burning the Medial Axis Is Unstable (Media Exposition)

Authors Erin Chambers , Christopher Fillmore , Elizabeth Stephenson , Mathijs Wintraecken



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Erin Chambers
  • Saint Louis University, MO, USA
Christopher Fillmore
  • IST Austria, Klosterneuburg, Austria
Elizabeth Stephenson
  • IST Austria, Klosterneuburg, Austria
Mathijs Wintraecken
  • IST Austria, Klosterneuburg, Austria

Acknowledgements

We thank André Lieutier, David Letscher, Ellen Gasparovic, Kathryn Leonard, and Tao Ju for early discussions on this work. We also thank Lu Liu, Yajie Yan and Tao Ju for sharing code to generate the examples.

Cite AsGet BibTex

Erin Chambers, Christopher Fillmore, Elizabeth Stephenson, and Mathijs Wintraecken. A Cautionary Tale: Burning the Medial Axis Is Unstable (Media Exposition). In 38th International Symposium on Computational Geometry (SoCG 2022). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 224, pp. 66:1-66:9, Schloss Dagstuhl - Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2022)
https://doi.org/10.4230/LIPIcs.SoCG.2022.66

Abstract

The medial axis of a set consists of the points in the ambient space without a unique closest point on the original set. Since its introduction, the medial axis has been used extensively in many applications as a method of computing a topologically equivalent skeleton. Unfortunately, one limiting factor in the use of the medial axis of a smooth manifold is that it is not necessarily topologically stable under small perturbations of the manifold. To counter these instabilities various prunings of the medial axis have been proposed. Here, we examine one type of pruning, called burning. Because of the good experimental results, it was hoped that the burning method of simplifying the medial axis would be stable. In this work we show a simple example that dashes such hopes based on Bing’s house with two rooms, demonstrating an isotopy of a shape where the medial axis goes from collapsible to non-collapsible.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Theory of computation → Computational geometry
Keywords
  • Medial axis
  • Collapse
  • Pruning
  • Burning
  • Stability

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