In recent years, we have been exploring denoising problems, where a signal x is measured with additive noise, y=x+z. The goal is to estimate x from y. This framework is directly applicable to many areas where signals are measured in a noisy way, including in imaging systems, audio, and denoising medical data. When a statistical characterization of the input x and noise z is available, a Bayesian approach can be used. However, in many problems these statistics are unavailable, and we must use a universal approach that adapts to the data at hand. Below we describe two denoising approaches that can adapt to unknown input statistics.
Universal denoising based on context quantization and Gaussian mixture learning: Our approach is based on a universal denoiser for stationary ergodic inputs that performs context quantization; this denoiser was proposed by Sivaramakrishnan and Weissman. The key idea is to partition the stationary ergodic signal denoising problem into multiple denoising problems involving subsequences that are conditionally independent and identically distributed (i.i.d.). This denoiser has been proved to asymptotically achieve the minimum mean square error (MMSE) for signals with bounded components. We overcome the limitation of boundedness by replacing the density estimation approach of Sivaramakrishnan and Weissman with a Gaussian mixture (GM) learning algorithm. Specifically, a GM model is learned for each noisy subsequence, and we obtain an estimate of the distribution of the corresponding clean subsequence by subtracting the noise variance from each Gaussian component of the learned GM model. This density estimate is used to denoise the subequence with a standard Bayesian technique.
We have applied our universal denoiser within the approximate message passing (AMP) recovery framework for linear inverse problems, which leads to a promising universal recovery algorithm AMP-UD (AMP with a universal denoiser). A block diagram of our approach appears in the following figure.
Universality within a model class (a.k.a. the power of mixing): To estimate a parametric signal x with unknown parameters from the noisy observations y, one may first find the best parameters (i.e., via maximum likelihood (ML)) θ*, and then plug the parameters θ* into the MMSE estimator, E[x|y,θ*]. This approach is known as a plug-in denoiser. The plug-in is often useful, especially when the signal dimension is large, so that θ* is likely to match the signal well. For low dimensional problems, however, one may not have sufficient data to obtain an accurate θ*. The problem in the low dimensional setting is that we over-commit to one parameter.
To address this challenge, we propose a mixture denoiser (MixD), x̂ = ∫ E[x|y,θ] p(θ|y) dθ, which mixes over the MMSE estimators w.r.t. each possible θ, where the mixing probability is the posterior of θ. The following figure compares the excess mean square error (MSE) of MixD beyond that of the plug-in as a function of the signal dimension N, where the input signal is Bernoulli distributed. It can be seen that MixD has lower excess MSE than the plug-in for small N, and the advantage vanishes as N grows. Both MixD and the plug-in approach the MMSE for large N.