This volume contains the Proceedings of the International Workshop Variational Methods For Discontinuous Structures, which was jointly organized by the Dipar timento di Matematica Francesco Brioschi of Milano Politecnico and the Interna tional School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) of Trieste. The Conference took place at Villa Erba Antica (Cernobbio) on the Lago di Como on July 4- 6, 2001. In past years the calculus of variations faced mainly the study of continuous structures, say particularly problems with smooth solutions. One of the deepest and more delicate problems was the regularity of weak solutions. More recently, new sophisticated tools have been introduced in order to study discontinuities: in many variational problems solutions develop singularities, and sometimes the most interesting part of a solution is the singularity itself. The conference intended to focus on recent developments in this direction. Some of the talks were devoted to differential or variational modelling of image segmentation, occlusion and textures synthesizing in image analysis, varia tional description of micro-magnetic materials, dimension reduction and structured deformations in elasticity and plasticity, phase transitions, irrigation and drainage, evolution of crystalline shapes; in most cases theoretical and numerical analysis of these models were provided. viii Preface Other talks were dedicated to specific problems of the calculus of variations: variational theory of weak or lower-dimensional structures, optimal transport prob lems with free Dirichlet regions, higher order variational problems, symmetrization in the BV framework.
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