The two-dimensional matrix of coefficients for the Laplacian operator is shown in (5), where, on a cartesian space, h=0, and in the helix geometry, h=1. (A similar partitioned matrix arises from packing a cylindrical surface into a array.) Notice that the partitioning becomes transparent for the helix, h=1.
With the partitioning thus invisible, the matrix simply represents one-dimensional convolution and we have an alternative analytical approach, Fourier Transform. We often need to solve sets of simultaneous equations with a matrix similar to (5). A costly method is to factor the matrix into upper and lower triangular form that can be ``backsolved'' which in this case amounts to recursive filtering.
The Fourier approach is similar but much faster. The (negative of the) Laplacian operator is regarded as an autocorrelation .Using the Kolmogoroff spectral-factorization method, a ``minimum-phase'' wavelet is found which has this autocorrelation. This 2-D wavelet (rotated from (4)) is
As a practical matter, this Poisson equation solver is a convenient isotropic smoothing filter.
Twenty years ago when migrations were two-dimensional, we developed powerful wave-equation methods for finite-difference downward-continuation of wave fields. These methods were frustrated in 3-D because we could not rapidly solve algebraic systems like .The helix should resuscitate these methods (although we will need to develop approximations for when ).