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Open Access Publications from the University of California

A topological approach to simplification of three-dimensional scalar fields


This paper describes an efficient combinatorial method for simplification of topological features in a 3D scalar function. The Morse-Smale complex, which provides a succinct representation of a function's associated gradient flow field, is used to identify topological features and their significance. The simplification process, guided by the Morse-Smale complex, proceeds by repeatedly applying two atomic operations that each remove a pair of critical points from the complex. Efficient storage of the complex results in execution of these atomic operations at interactive rates. Visualization of the simplified complex shows that the simplification preserves significant topological features while removing small features and noise.

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