A metric on shape space with explicit geodesics

  • Laurent Younes

    The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, United States
  • Peter W. Michor

    Universität Wien, Austria
  • Jayant M. Shah

    Northeastern University, Boston, USA
  • David B. Mumford

    Brown University, Providence, United States


This paper studies a specific metric on plane curves that has the property of being isometric to classical manifold (sphere, complex projective, Stiefel, Grassmann) modulo change of parametrization, each of these classical manifolds being associated to specific qualifications of the space of curves (closed-open, modulo rotation etc\ldots) Using these isometries, we are able to explicitely describe the geodesics, first in the parametric case, then by modding out the paremetrization and considering horizontal vectors. We also compute the sectional curvature for these spaces, and show, in particular, that the space of closed curves modulo rotation and change of parameter has positive curvature. Experimental results that explicitly compute minimizing geodesics between two closed curves are finally provided.

Cite this article

Laurent Younes, Peter W. Michor, Jayant M. Shah, David B. Mumford, A metric on shape space with explicit geodesics. Atti Accad. Naz. Lincei Cl. Sci. Fis. Mat. Natur. 19 (2008), no. 1, pp. 25–57

DOI 10.4171/RLM/506