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Journal Article

Generation of three-dimensional random rotations in fitting and matching problems


Habeck,  M
Department Empirical Inference, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Habeck, M. (2009). Generation of three-dimensional random rotations in fitting and matching problems. Computational Statistics, 24(4), 719-731. doi:0.1007/s00180-009-0156-x.

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An algorithm is developed to generate random rotations in three-dimensional space that follow a probability distribution arising in fitting and matching problems. The rotation matrices are orthogonally transformed into an optimal basis and then parameterized using Euler angles. The conditional distributions of the three Euler angles have a very simple form: the two azimuthal angles can be decoupled by sampling their sum and difference from a von Mises distribution; the cosine of the polar angle is exponentially distributed and thus straighforward to generate. Simulation results are shown and demonstrate the effectiveness of the method. The algorithm is compared to other methods for generating random rotations such as a random walk Metropolis scheme and a Gibbs sampling algorithm recently introduced by Green and Mardia. Finally, the algorithm is applied to a probabilistic version of the Procrustes problem of fitting two point sets and applied in the context of protein structure superposition.