Almost lossless analog signal separation and probabilistic uncertainty relations


David Stotz, Erwin Riegler, Eirikur Agustsson, and Helmut Bölcskei


IEEE Transactions on Information Theory, Vol. 63, No. 9, pp. 5445-5460, Sept. 2017.

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We propose an information-theoretic framework for analog signal separation. Specifically, we consider the problem of recovering two analog signals, modeled as general random vectors, from the noiseless sum of linear measurements of the signals. Our framework is inspired by the groundbreaking work of Wu and Verdú (2010) on analog compression and encompasses, inter alia, inpainting, declipping, super-resolution, the recovery of signals corrupted by impulse noise, and the separation of (e.g., audio or video) signals into two distinct components. The main results we report are general achievability bounds for the compression rate, i.e., the number of measurements relative to the dimension of the ambient space the signals live in, under either measurability or Hölder continuity imposed on the separator. Furthermore, we find a matching converse for sources of mixed discrete-continuous distribution. For measurable separators our proofs are based on a new probabilistic uncertainty relation which shows that the intersection of generic subspaces with general sets of sufficiently small Minkowski dimension is empty. Hölder continuous separators are dealt with by introducing the concept of regularized probabilistic uncertainty relations. The probabilistic uncertainty relations we develop are inspired by embedding results in dynamical systems theory due to Sauer et al. (1991) and—conceptually—parallel classical Donoho-Stark and Elad-Bruckstein uncertainty principles at the heart of compressed sensing theory. Operationally, the new uncertainty relations take the theory of sparse signal separation beyond traditional sparsity—as measured in terms of the number of non-zero entries—to the more general notion of low description complexity as quantified by Minkowski dimension. Finally, our approach also allows to significantly strengthen key results in Wu and Verdú (2010).


Signal separation, compressed sensing, uncertainty relations, Minkowski dimension, Shannon theory


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