A dynamical systems approach to weighted graph matching
Graph matching is a fundamental problem that arises frequently in the areas of distributed control, computer vision, and facility allocation. In this paper, we consider the optimal graph matching problem for weighted graphs, which is computationally challenging due the combinatorial nature of the set of permutations. Contrary to optimization-based relaxations to this problem, in this paper we develop a novel relaxation by constructing dynamical systems on the manifold of orthogonal matrices. In particular, since permutation matrices are orthogonal matrices with nonnegative elements, we define two gradient flows in the space of orthogonal matrices. The first minimizes the cost of weighted graph matching over orthogonal matrices, whereas the second minimizes the distance of an orthogonal matrix from the finite set of all permutations. The combination of the two dynamical systems converges to a permutation matrix, which provides a suboptimal solution to the weighted graph matching problem. Finally, our approach is shown to be promising by illustrating it on nontrivial problems. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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