Joyce R. McLaughlin

Professor and Ford Foundation Professor, Rensselaer
Director, IPRPI
IPAM Visiting Professor, Fall, 2003
MSRI Visiting Professor, Fall, 2001
Visiting Professor, Courant Institute, NYU, 1995-96
NSF Visiting Professorship for Women, U.C. Berkeley, 1990
Ph.D. University of California, Riverside

Nonlinear analysis in inverse problems and optimization

Fellow of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, 2009
Member, NRC Board of Mathematical Sciences and its Applications, 2004-2007
Member, (2004- present) of the Scientific Board for the American Institute of Mathematics
Member (2003-2007) of the Board of Trustees for the Mathematical Sciences
Research Institute (MSRI) at U.C. Berkeley
Member (2002-2006) of the Board of Trustees for the Institute for Pure and
Applied Mathematics (IPAM) at UCLA
Chair (1996-1998) and Member (1995-2003) of the Board of Trustees of the
Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics
Editorial Board for the Inverse Problems Journal, 1992-1998
International Advisory Board for the Inverse Problems Journal, 1998-present
Editorial Board for Mathematical Reviews, 1997-2002 Associate Editor for the
Journal of Mathematical Analysis and Applications, 1991-2004
Survey Editor, European Journal of Applied Mathmatics, 2003-present.

Invited Lecturer - International Congress of Mathematicians, Zürich, 1994
CBMS (Conference Board of Mathematical Sciences) Lecturer, December, 2001
AWM/SIAM 2004 Kovalevsky Lecture and Prize


Professor McLaughlin's main research area is in nonlinear analysis as applied to parameter identification in inverse problems. In addition, recent new work gives results of numerical algorithms for solving Helmholtz equation.

Several sets of inverse problems are being considered. One of these is the inverse problem of elastography. There the goal is to create images of the variations of shear wavespeed in biological tissue; the aim is to develop a medical diagnostic tool. These images extend the doctor's palpation exam where the doctor presses against the skin to feel the presence of abnormal tissue which is stiffer than normal tissue.

In one elastography experiment the tissue is initially at rest when a low frequency pulse is applied to the boundary or along a line in the interior - (supersonic imaging). An elastic wave propagates into the body and the downward displacement of this propagating wave as a function of position and time is measured remotely on a grid of points interior to the body using Doppler ultrasound. The inverse problem is to determine the shear wavespeed from these interior measurements. We develop well-posedness results and fast algorithms for this wavespeed recovery. Both synthetic data and data measured in the laboratory of Mathias Fink, Laboratoire Ondes et Acoustique, ESPCI, Universite Paris VII, are tested in our wavespeed recovery algorithms. In one algorithm we exploit the feature that the data has a propagating front and develop the Arrival Time algorithm.

In a second elastography experiment a traveling wave in tissue is produced by exciting the tissue at one frequency and combining the ultrasound data with another frequency, generated in the ultrasound receiver. This second frequency nearly the same, but not equal to, the excitation frequency. This produces a traveling wave whose phase is altered by inhomogeneities. We recover the location size, and amplitude of the inhomogeneities using an adaptation of the Arrival Time algorithm.

A second set of problems are inverse problems and wave propagation algorithms in waveguides. There we develop exact one way algorithms for calculating the solution of Helmholtz equation in a range and depth dependent ocean. For inverse problems we utilize our knowledge of waveguides to develop efficient methods for identification of objects in waveguides and for time reversal problems.

Inverse spectral problems are also addressed. There the data is natural frequencies and eigenmode measurements. One set of data is the level sets of eigenmodes. The inverse problem solution is material parameters such as density, sound speed, or elasticity coefficients. Mathematical models are second or fourth order partial and ordinary differential equations. Well-posedness results are obtained and algorithms are developed and tested. he functional relationship between spectral data and material parameters is highly nonlinear. Nonlinear functional analytic techniques are applied to show uniqueness results and to develop algorithms. In one dimension, algebraic and differential geometry techniques yield exact solutions and global existence of solutions. Furthermore, results when material properties are very rough are obtained and it is shown that new phenomena occur as the material coefficients become rougher. In higher dimensions, asymptotic forms for the spectral data are obtained and so far these asymptotic results are established only when the material properties are quite smooth. Application of variational methods yields algorithms. Solution techniques are aimed at maintaining the full nonlinearity of the inverse problem without employing linearization methods.

Recent Publications

"Inverse Spectral Theory Using Nodal Points as Data - A Uniqueness Result," J. Diff. Eq., Vol. 73, 1988, pp. 354-362.

" Solutions to Inverse Nodal Problems" (with O.H. Hald), Inverse Problems, Vol. 5, 1989, pp. 307-347.

"Examples of Inverse Nodal Problems" (with O.H. Hald), Inverse Problems in Action, ed. P. Sabatier, Springer - Verlag, 1990, pp. 147-151.

"Extremal Eigenvalue Problems for Composite Membranes, I," (with S. Cox) Appl. Math and Op., Vol. 22, 1990, pp. 153-167.

"Extremal Eigenvalue Problems for Composite Membranes, II," (with S. Cox) Appl. Math and Op., Vol. 22, 1990, pp.169-187.

"Solution of the inverse spectral problem for an impedance with integrable derivative," Part I (with Carol Coleman), Comm. Pure and Appl. Math, Vol. XLVI (1993), pp. 145-184.

"Solution of the inverse spectral problem for an impedance with integrable derivative," Part II (with Carol Coleman), Comm. Pure and Appl. Math, Vol. XLVI (1993), pp. 185-212.

"A formula for finding a potential from nodal lines," (with Ole H. Hald) Bulletin of the AMS 32 (1995),pp. 241-247.

"Reconstruction of a spherically symmetric speed of sound," (with Peter Polykov and Paul Sacks) SIAM J. Appl. Math 54(1994),pp. 1203-1223.

"The effect of structural damping on nodes for the Euler-Bernoulli Beam: a specific case study," (with B. Geist), Appl. Math Lett., Vol. 7, 1994, pp. 51-55.

"Formulas for Finding Coefficients from Nodes/Nodal Lines", Proceedings of the International Congress of Mathematicians, Zurich, Switzerland, 1994, Birkhauser Verlag, Basel, Switzerland, 1995, pp. 1494-1501. (Text of Paper(without figures) )

"Inverse Nodal Problems: Finding the Potential from Nodal Lines," (with Ole H. Hald) AMS Memoir, Vol. 119, No. 572, January 1996 (148 pages). (Introduction)

"The Riccati method for the Helmholtz equation", (with Ya Yan Lu), J.Acoust. Soc. Am., Vol. 100 (3), (1996), pp. 1432-1446.

"Finding the density of a membrane from nodal lines", (with C.J. Lee), Inverse Problems in Wave Propagation, eds. G. Chavent, G. Papanicolaou, P. Sacks, W.W. Symes, Springer, 1997, pp. 325-345.

"Perturbation expansions for eigenvalues and eigenvectors for a rectangular membrane subject to a restorative force", (with A. Portnoy), Electronic Research Announcements of the AMS, Vol. 3 (1997), pp. 72-77.

"Double Eigenvalues for the Uniform Timoshenko Beam," (with B. Geist), Appl. Math. Letters, Vol. 10 (1997), pp. 129-134.

"Perturbing a rectangular membrane with a restorative force: effects on eigenvalues and eigenfunctions", (with A. Portnoy), Comm. P.D.E., Vol. 23 (1&2), 1998, pp. 243-285 .

"Inverse Problems: Recovery of BV Coefficients from Nodes", (with O.H. Hald), Inverse Problems, Vol. 14, No. 2, 1998, pp. 245-273. (Text of Paper(without figures) )

"Eigenvalue Formulas for the Uniform Timoshenko Beam: The Free-Free Problem", (with B. Geist) Electronic Research Ann., AMS, Vol. 4, 1998.

"Recovery of a vertically stratified seabed in shallow water", (with S. Wang) Mathematical and Numerical Aspects of Wave Propagation, ed. John A. DeSanto, SIAM, Philadelphia, 1998, pp. 232-236.
(Text of Paper(with figures))

"Solving Inverse Problems with Spectral Data", Surveys on Solution Methods for Inverse Problems, eds. D. Colton, H. Engl, A. Louis, J. McLaughlin, W. Rundell, Springer, New York, 2000, pp. 169-194. (Text of Paper(with figures))

"Asymptotic Formulas for the Eigenvalues of the Timoshenko Beam", (with B. Geist) JMAA, Vol. 253, 2001, pp. 341-380.
(Text of Paper)

"Local orthogenal transformations and one-way methods for acoustic waveguides," (with Y. Y. Lu and J. Huang), Wave Motion, Vol. 34, 2001, pp. 193-207.

"Using a Hankel function expansion to identify stiffness for the boundary impulse input experiment", (with Lin Ji) , AMS Contemporary Mathematics (CONM) Book Series: Proc. of the Conf. on Inverse Problems and Applications (Pisa, Italy) 2003 ed. G. Allessandrini and G. Uhlman.
(Text of Paper(with figures))

"Interior Elastodynamics Inverse Problems: Shear Wave Speed Reconstruction in Transient Elastography", (with Lin Ji, Daniel Renzi, and Jeong-Rock Yoon),Inverse Problems, Vol. 19, No. 6, December 2003, pp. s1-s29.
(Text of Paper(with figures))

"Propagation in Helmholtz Waveguides using DtN, NtD and Ratd Maps: Part I, a Second Order Method", (with Ya Yan Lu), submitted.
(Text of Paper(with figures))

"Recovery of the Lamè parameter in biological tissues", (with Lin Ji), Inverse Problems, Vol. 20, No. 1, February 2004, pp. 1-24.
(Text of Paper(with figures))

"Unique identifiability of elastic parameters from time-dependent interior displacement measurement", (with Jeong-Rock Yoon), Inverse Problems, Vol. 20, No. 1, February 2004, pp. 25-46.
(Text of Paper(with figures))

"Shear Wave Speed Recovery in Transient Elastography And Supersonic Imaging Using Propagating Fronts", (with Daniel Renzi), Inverse Problems, Vol. 22, 2006, pp. 681-706.
(Text of Paper(with figures))

"Using Level Set Based Inversion of Arrival Times To Recover Shear Wavespeed In Transient Elastography And Supersonic Imaging ", (with Daniel Renzi), Inverse Problems, Vol. 22, 2006, pp.707-725 .
(Text of Paper(with figures))

"Recovering inhomogeneities in a waveguide using eigensystem decomposition", (with Sava Dediu), Inverse Problems,Vol. 22, June, 2006, pp.1227-1246. (Text of paper (with figures))

"Variance Controlled Shear Stiffness Images for MRE Data", (with Daniel Renzi, Jeong-Rock Yoon, R. L. Ehman, A. Manducca), IEEE International Symposium on Biomedical Imaging: Macro to Nano, 2006, pp. 960-963.
(Text of Paper(with figures))

"Shear Wavespeed Recovery Using Moving Interference Patterns Obtained in Sonoelastography Experiments", (with , D. Renzi, K. Parker, C. Wu), JASA, Vol. 121 (4), 2007, pp. 2438-2446. (Text of Paper(with figures))

"Anisotropy Reconstruction From Wave Fronts Intranversely Isotropic Acoustic Media", accepted SIAMJ. Appl. Math." (Text of Paper(with figures))


"Imaging Shear Stiffness Tissue Properties Using Inverse Methods When Measurements are Time Dependent ", Fourth International Conference on the Ultrasonic Measurement and Imaging of Tissue Elasticity, Austin Texas, October, 2005.

"Interior Elastodynamic Inverse Problems ," University of Washington, August, 2005.

"Interior Elastodynamic Inverse Problems," IPAM, Fall, 2003.

"Inverse Spectral Problems," IPAM, Fall, 2003.

"Using spectral data to solve inverse problems"," December 2001, CBMS Lectures, University of Texas, Pan American; .

"Solving inverse problems using frequencies and nodes," Womens Mentoring Program, IAS, June, 1995; lectures for undergraduates.

Ph.D. Thesis

"Recovering Inhomogeneities In a Waveguide Using Eigensystem Decomposition", August 2005, Sava Dediu


110 8th Street
Department of Mathematical Sciences
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Troy, New York 12180

(518) 276-6349 (Voice)
(518) 276-4824 (Fax)
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