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On the existence of universal nonlinearities for blind source separation

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2 Author(s)
H. Mathis ; Signal & Inf. Process. Lab., Swiss Fed. Inst. of Technol., Zurich, Switzerland ; S. C. Douglas

Many density-based methods for blind signal separation employ one or more models for the unknown source distribution(s). This paper considers the issue of density model mismatch in maximum likelihood (ML)-type blind signal separation algorithms. We show that the score function nonlinearity, which was previously derived from the standpoint of statistical efficiency, is also the most robust in maintaining a separation solution for the ML algorithm class. We also consider the existence of a universally applicable nonlinearity for separating all signal types, deriving two results. First, among nonlinearities with a convergent Taylor series, a single fixed nonlinearity for universal separation using the natural gradient algorithm cannot exist. Second, among nonlinearities with a single adjustable parameter, a previously proposed threshold nonlinearity can separate all signals with symmetric amplitude distributions as long as the threshold parameter is properly chosen. The design of "difficult-to-separate" signal distributions is also discussed

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing  (Volume:50 ,  Issue: 5 )