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Stochastic Models for Sparse and Piecewise-Smooth Signals

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2 Author(s)
Michael Unser ; Biomedical Imaging Group (BIG), École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), LIB, Lausanne, Switzerland ; Pouya Dehghani Tafti

We introduce an extended family of continuous-domain stochastic models for sparse, piecewise-smooth signals. These are specified as solutions of stochastic differential equations, or, equivalently, in terms of a suitable innovation model; the latter is analogous conceptually to the classical interpretation of a Gaussian stationary process as filtered white noise. The two specific features of our approach are 1) signal generation is driven by a random stream of Dirac impulses (Poisson noise) instead of Gaussian white noise, and 2) the class of admissible whitening operators is considerably larger than what is allowed in the conventional theory of stationary processes. We provide a complete characterization of these finite-rate-of-innovation signals within Gelfand's framework of generalized stochastic processes. We then focus on the class of scale-invariant whitening operators which correspond to unstable systems. We show that these can be solved by introducing proper boundary conditions, which leads to the specification of random, spline-type signals that are piecewise-smooth. These processes are the Poisson counterpart of fractional Brownian motion; they are nonstationary and have the same 1/ω-type spectral signature. We prove that the generalized Poisson processes have a sparse representation in a wavelet-like basis subject to some mild matching condition. We also present a limit example of sparse process that yields a MAP signal estimator that is equivalent to the popular TV-denoising algorithm.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing  (Volume:59 ,  Issue: 3 )