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This paper deals with the problem of discriminating samples that contain only noise from samples that contain a signal embedded in noise. The focus is on the case when the variance of the noise is unknown. We derive the optimal soft decision detector using a Bayesian approach. The complexity of this optimal detector grows exponentially with the number of observations and as a remedy, we propose a number of approximations to it. The problem under study is a fundamental one and it has applications in signal denoising, anomaly detection, and spectrum sensing for cognitive radio. We illustrate the results in the context of the latter.
Date of Conference: 19-24 April 2009