Factoring wavelet transforms into lifting steps

  • Ingrid Daubechies
  • Wim Sweldens


This article is essentially tutorial in nature. We show how any discrete wavelet transform or two band subband filtering with finite filters can be decomposed into a finite sequence of simple filtering steps, which we call lifting steps but that are also known as ladder structures. This decomposition corresponds to a factorization of the polyphase matrix of the wavelet or subband filters into elementary matrices. That such a factorization is possible is well-known to algebraists (and expressed by the formulaSL(n;R[z, z−1])=E(n;R[z, z−1])); it is also used in linear systems theory in the electrical engineering community. We present here a self-contained derivation, building the decomposition from basic principles such as the Euclidean algorithm, with a focus on applying it to wavelet filtering. This factorization provides an alternative for the lattice factorization, with the advantage that it can also be used in the biorthogonal, i.e., non-unitary case. Like the lattice factorization, the decomposition presented here asymptotically reduces the computational complexity of the transform by a factor two. It has other applications, such as the possibility of defining a wavelet-like transform that maps integers to integers.

Math Subject Classifications

42C15 42C05 19-02 

Keywords and Phrases

Wavelet lifting elementary matrix Euclidean algorithm Laurent polynomial 


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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Boston 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ingrid Daubechies
    • 1
  • Wim Sweldens
    • 2
  1. 1.Program for Applied and Computational MathematicsPrinceton UniversityPrinceton
  2. 2.Bell LaboratoriesLucent TechnologiesMurray Hill

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