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The time delay estimation (TDE) is an important issue in modern signal processing and it has found extensive applications in the spatial propagation feature extraction of biomedical signals as well. Due to the extreme complexity and variability of the underlying systems, biomedical signals are usually nonstationary, unstable and even chaotic. Furthermore, due to the limitations of the measurement environments, biomedical signals are often noise-contaminated. Therefore, the TDE of biomedical signals is a challenging issue. A new TDE algorithm based on the least absolute deviation neural network (LADNN) and its application experiments are presented in this paper. The LADNN is the neural implementation of the least absolute deviation (LAD) optimization model, also called unconstrained minimum L1-norm model, with a theoretically proven global convergence. In the proposed LADNN-based TDE algorithm, a given signal is modeled using the moving average (MA) model. The MA parameters are estimated by using the LADNN and the time delay corresponds to the time index at which the MA coefficients have a peak. Due to the excellent features of L1-norm model superior to Lp-norm (p>1) models in non-Gaussian noise environments or even in chaos, especially for signals that contain sharp transitions (such as biomedical signals with spiky series or motion artifacts) or chaotic dynamic processes, the LADNN-based TDE is more robust than the existing TDE algorithms based on wavelet-domain correlation and those based on higher-order spectra (HOS). Unlike these conventional methods, especially the current state-of-the-art HOS-based TDE, the LADNN-based method is free of the assumption that the signal is non-Gaussian and the noises are Gaussian and, thus, it is more applicable in real situations. Simulation experiments under three different noise environments, Gaussian, non-Gaussian and chaotic, are conducted to compare the proposed TDE method with the existing HOS-based method. Real application experiment is conducted to extract time delay information between every two adjacent channels of gastric myoelectrical activity (GMA) to assess the spatial propagation characteristics of GMA during different phases of the migrating myoelectrical complex (MMC).
Date of Publication: March 2005