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In order to denoise Poisson count data, we introduce a variance stabilizing transform (VST) applied on a filtered discrete Poisson process, yielding a near Gaussian process with asymptotic constant variance. This new transform, which can be deemed as an extension of the Anscombe transform to filtered data, is simple, fast, and efficient in (very) low-count situations. We combine this VST with the filter banks of wavelets, ridgelets and curvelets, leading to multiscale VSTs (MS-VSTs) and nonlinear decomposition schemes. By doing so, the noise-contaminated coefficients of these MS-VST-modified transforms are asymptotically normally distributed with known variances. A classical hypothesis-testing framework is adopted to detect the significant coefficients, and a sparsity-driven iterative scheme reconstructs properly the final estimate. A range of examples show the power of this MS-VST approach for recovering important structures of various morphologies in (very) low-count images. These results also demonstrate that the MS-VST approach is competitive relative to many existing denoising methods.
Date of Publication: July 2008