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We present nonquadratic Hessian-based regularization methods that can be effectively used for image restoration problems in a variational framework. Motivated by the great success of the total-variation (TV) functional, we extend it to also include second-order differential operators. Specifically, we derive second-order regularizers that involve matrix norms of the Hessian operator. The definition of these functionals is based on an alternative interpretation of TV that relies on mixed norms of directional derivatives. We show that the resulting regularizers retain some of the most favorable properties of TV, i.e., convexity, homogeneity, rotation, and translation invariance, while dealing effectively with the staircase effect. We further develop an efficient minimization scheme for the corresponding objective functions. The proposed algorithm is of the iteratively reweighted least-square type and results from a majorization-minimization approach. It relies on a problem-specific preconditioned conjugate gradient method, which makes the overall minimization scheme very attractive since it can be applied effectively to large images in a reasonable computational time. We validate the overall proposed regularization framework through deblurring experiments under additive Gaussian noise on standard and biomedical images.
Date of Publication: March 2012