Home

What are inverse problems?

Research themes
Industrial imaging
Medical and biological
Positioning and timing
Space weather
Projects
Insect tomography videos
Research beehives
TOPCAT experiment
Tomography tutorial
Expeditions
Antarctica 2010
Antarctica 2011
Cape Verde 2011
Realtime data
European ionosphere
European ionosphere 3D
Scintillation receivers
About the group
Affiliations
Contact information
Group members
Conferences
Beacon 2013 Symposium

In many physical calculations, the parameters of a system are used to predict how that system will behave. For example, if you know the internal structure of an object, it is relatively straightforward to determine what an X-ray of that object will look like. An inverse problem is the reverse of this; it is the task of using the system's behaviour to calculate its internal parameters. For example, by taking multiple X-rays at multiple angles, it is possible (in a process known as tomography) to calculate the internal structure of the object.

Inverse techniques have many scientific applications. For example, if you know the structure of the earth, you can calculate how the vibrations produced by an earthquake will propagate, and so predict how the earthquake will be observed at different points around the globe. The inverse of this is to use earthquake measurements to determine the Earth's structure.


Waves from an earthquake propagating through the planet.

Inverse problems appear in computer vision, measurement of fluid flow, and many other applications. The Invert group solves inverse problems related to mapping the ionosphere, medical imaging, industrial imaging, and a host of other applications.