Algorithms

Practical solutions to challenging problems.

Researchers in the Algorithms group at MERL develop solution methods for optimization problems involving very large numbers of variables. Typically these arise in inference problems involving images, video, or audio; network transport problems; coding and compression problems; or design problems. Usually these problems are characterized by very complicated probability distributions in extremely high dimensional spaces. Because classical approaches to these problems are infeasible, our results can open new business opportunities where there are no competitive technologies. Another main research theme involves adaptively-sampled distance fields, providing superior font and graphical rendering for digital displays.

Most of the group's work revolves around graph-based optimizations and inference, where the graph is a representation of the problem constraints and a probability distribution over possible solutions. Through formal analysis we identify tractable estimation or approximation schemes. This meshes with MERL's expertise in fields and technologies such as belief propagation, machine learning, computer vision, dynamic programming, convex optimization, coding and communications theory, and signal processing.