Bel­gian’s imag­ing tech­niques to ‘re­pair’ old Chi­nese art

China Daily (Latin America Weekly) - - China - By ZHOU WENTING in Shang­hai zhouwent­[email protected]­

Bel­gian math­e­ma­ti­cian In­grid Daubechies, best known for her work with wave­lets in im­age com­pres­sion, said she plans to use her tech­nique to re­store the orig­i­nal ap­pear­ance of old Chi­nese paint­ings.

Us­ing her meth­ods for an­a­lyz­ing images, her team is able to re­cap­ture the look of old paint­ings with­out phys­i­cally touch­ing them, Daubechies said in Shang­hai on Sun­day.

“An­other way to ap­ply our tech­nique is to re­veal a hid­den paint­ing un­der­neath one paint­ing with­out re­mov­ing the one on top, which may also bring new in­sights into tra­di­tional Chi­nese paint­ing,” Daubechies said af­ter re­ceiv­ing the Fu­dan-Zhongzhi Sci­ence Award.

She was awarded the prize for her out­stand­ing con­tri­bu­tions to the dis­cov­ery and math­e­mat­i­cal anal­y­sis of com­pactly sup­ported wave­lets used in im­age com­pres­sion — for ex­am­ple, in JPEG 2000 for both loss­less and lossy com­pres­sion — and for her so­phis­ti­cated im­age pro­cess­ing tech­niques, which have helped art his­to­ri­ans and con­ser­va­tion­ists in the study and protection of art works.

Daubechies said her team has not yet ex­plored co­op­er­a­tion with Chi­nese mu­se­ums or art gal­leries but will be in­ter­ested in push­ing such projects for­ward.

“We’ll also as­sess the needs of peo­ple in the field to gen­er­ate new ideas of what our tech­nol­ogy can do,” said Daubechies, a pro­fes­sor of math­e­mat­ics at Duke Univer­sity in the United States.

She said her team has done a lot with the works of Vin­cent van Gogh. Among the most in­ter­est­ing dis­cov­er­ies — found through math­e­mat­i­cal mea­sure­ments — was a paint­ing hid­den be­neath an­other of a peas­ant woman.

“It re­ally in­ter­ested the pub­lic, as Vin­cent van Gogh once re­vealed there was a paint­ing un­der­neath,” she said, adding that the Dutch artist of­ten reused his can­vasses.

The sci­ence award was jointly cre­ated by Fu­dan Univer­sity and Zhongzhi En­ter­prise Group, an as­set-man­age­ment en­tity head­quar­tered in Bei­jing. It was the third time the an­nual award has been given.

Ac­cord­ing to the univer­sity, can­di­dates for the award — which rec­og­nizes sci­en­tists around the world who have made dis­tin­guished achieve­ments in the fields of math­e­mat­ics, physics and bio­med­i­cine — are on the cut­ting-edge of sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy.

Each year’s win­ners share an award of 3 mil­lion yuan ($435,000).

Notably, James Al­li­son of the US and Ja­pan’s Ta­suku Honjo, who won the award in 2016 for their con­tri­bu­tions to im­munother­apy, re­ceived this year’s No­bel Prize for medicine or phys­i­ol­ogy; and US sci­en­tists Barry Clark Bar­ish, Rainer Weiss and Kip Stephen Thorne, who re­ceived the Fu­dan- Zhongzhi award last year for their con­tri­bu­tions to the ob­ser­va­tion and re­search of grav­i­ta­tional waves, re­ceived the 2017 No­bel Prize for physics.

The award cer­e­mony was held on Sun­day dur­ing the Fu­dan Sci­ence and In­no­va­tion Fo­rum, which fo­cused on fron­tier top­ics in com­put­ing sci­ence, big data, molec­u­lar func­tion and imag­ing, and in­no­va­tion and en­trepreneur­ship.

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