We propose an extended full-waveform inversion formulation that includes general convex constraints on the model. Though the full problem is highly nonconvex, the overarching optimization scheme arrives at geologically plausible results by solving a sequence of relaxed and warm-started constrained convex subproblems. The combination of box, total variation, and successively relaxed asymmetric total variation constraints allows us to steer free from parasitic local minima while keeping the estimated physical parameters laterally continuous and in a physically realistic range. For accurate starting models, numerical experiments carried out on the challenging 2004 BP velocity benchmark demonstrate that bound and total variation constraints improve the inversion result significantly by removing inversion artifacts, related to source encoding, and by clearly improved delineation of top, bottom, and flanks of a high-velocity high-contrast salt inclusion. The experiments also show that for poor starting models these two constraints by themselves are insufficient to detect the bottom of high-velocity inclusions such as salt. Inclusion of the one-sided asymmetric total variation constraint overcomes this issue by discouraging velocity lows to buildup during the early stages of the inversion. To the best of the authors' knowledge the presented algorithm is the first to successfully remove the imprint of local minima caused by poor starting models and band-width limited finite aperture data.


  1. full-waveform inversion
  2. total variation
  3. regularization
  4. constraints
  5. optimization

MSC codes

  1. 35
  2. 86

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Information & Authors


Published In

cover image SIAM Journal on Imaging Sciences
SIAM Journal on Imaging Sciences
Pages: 376 - 406
ISSN (online): 1936-4954


Submitted: 24 January 2017
Accepted: 18 October 2017
Published online: 7 February 2018


  1. full-waveform inversion
  2. total variation
  3. regularization
  4. constraints
  5. optimization

MSC codes

  1. 35
  2. 86



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