Reading 7 – Optimal Transport

An emerging tool for processing visual or geometric data (among many other things) is optimal transport / earth mover’s distance / Wasserstein distance.  For this reading, try to give an (extremely!) high-level description of the problem of optimal transport, and identify at least one interesting/cool/useful place where part of this theory has been applied.  In addition to the links above, some good starting points for applications in image and geometry processing include

As usual, you can probably Google for “optimal transport” plus any application and find something interesting.  The goal here is not to get an in-depth understanding of the subject, but rather just get a feel for the kind of problems people are solving with optimal transport.

More technical, in-depth introductions can be found in Ambrosio & Gigli, “A User’s Guide to Optimal Transport” and Villani, “Optimal Transport, Old and New.”

Submission: As usual, please send an email to and no later than 10:00 AM on Thursday, February 18th including the string DDGSpring2016 in your subject line.  Your email for readings should always include:

  1. a short (2-3 sentence) summary of what you read, and
  2. at least one question about something you found confusing / interesting / incomplete / not addressed.

3 thoughts on “Reading 7 – Optimal Transport”

  1. Just a reminder that this reading is (as mentioned in class) now due this Thursday, February 18th, and should line up nicely with our discussion of orientation and volume.

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