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A mapping approach to rate-distortion computation and analysis

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1 Author(s)
Rose, K. ; Dept. of Electr. & Comput. Eng., California Univ., Santa Barbara, CA, USA

In rate-distortion theory, results are often derived and stated in terms of the optimizing density over the reproduction space. In this paper, the problem is reformulated in terms of the optimal mapping from the unit interval with Lebesgue measure that would induce the desired reproduction probability density. This results in optimality conditions that are “random relatives” of the known Lloyd (1982) optimality conditions for deterministic quantizers. The validity of the mapping approach is assured by fundamental isomorphism theorems for measure spaces. We show that for the squared error distortion, the optimal reproduction random variable is purely discrete at supercritical distortion (where the Shannon (1948) lower bound is not tight). The Gaussian source is thus the only source that produces continuous reproduction variables for the entire range of positive rate. To analyze the evolution of the optimal reproduction distribution, we use the mapping formulation and establish an analogy to statistical mechanics. The solutions are given by the distribution at isothermal statistical equilibrium, and are parameterized by the temperature in direct correspondence to the parametric solution of the variational equations in rate-distortion theory. The analysis of an annealing process shows how the number of “symbols” grows as the system undergoes phase transitions. Thus, an algorithm based on the mapping approach often needs but a few variables to find the exact solution, while the Blahut (1972) algorithm would only approach it at the limit of infinite resolution. Finally, a quick “deterministic annealing” algorithm to generate the rate-distortion curve is suggested. The resulting curve is exact as long as continuous phase transitions in the process are accurately followed

Published in:

Information Theory, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:40 ,  Issue: 6 )