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Novel higher order regularisation methods for image reconstruction

Abstract: In this thesis we study novel higher order total variation-based variational methods for digital image reconstruction. These methods are formulated in the context of Tikhonov regularisation. We focus on regularisation techniques in which the regulariser incorporates second order derivatives or a sophisticated combination of first and second order derivatives. The introduction of higher order derivatives in the regularisation process has been shown to be an advantage over the classical first order case, i.e., total variation regularisation, as classical artifacts such as the staircasing effect are significantly reduced or totally eliminated. Also in image inpainting the introduction of higher order derivatives in the regulariser turns out to be crucial to achieve interpolation across large gaps. First, we introduce, analyse and implement a combined first and second order regularisation method with applications in image denoising, deblurring and inpainting. The method, numerically realised by the split Bregman algorithm, is computationally efficient and capable of giving comparable results with total generalised variation (TGV), a state of the art higher order method. An additional experimental analysis is performed for image inpainting and an online demo is provided on the IPOL website (Image Processing Online). We also compute and study properties of exact solutions of the one dimensional total generalised variation problem with L^{2} data fitting term, for simple piecewise affine data functions, with or without jumps . This gives an insight on how this type of regularisation behaves and unravels the role of the TGV parameters. Finally, we introduce, study and analyse a novel non-local Hessian functional. We prove localisations of the non-local Hessian to the local analogue in several topologies and our analysis results in derivative-free characterisations of higher order Sobolev and BV spaces. An alternative formulation of a non-local Hessian functional is also introduced which is able to produce piecewise affine reconstructions in image denoising, outperforming TGV.