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Optimally sparse representation in general (non-orthogonal) dictionaries via ℓ¹ minimization

By David L. Donoho and Michael Elad


Given a ‘dictionary’ D = {dk} of vectors dk, we seek to represent a signal S as a linear combination S = ∑ k γ(k)dk, with scalar coefficients γ(k). In particular, we aim for the sparsest representation possible. In general, this requires a combinatorial optimization process. Previous work considered the special case where D is an overcomplete system consisting of exactly two orthobases, and has shown that, under a condition of mutual incoherence of the two bases, and assuming that S has a sufficiently sparse representation, this representation is unique and can be found by solving a convex optimization problem: specifically, minimizing the ℓ¹ norm of the coefficients γ. In this paper, we obtain parallel results in a more general setting, where the dictionary D can arise from two or several bases, frames, or even less structured systems. We introduce the Spark, ameasure of linear dependence in such a system; it is the size of the smallest linearly dependent subset (dk). We show that, when the signal S has a representation using less than Spark(D)/2 nonzeros, this representation is necessarily unique. W

Topics: Sparse Representation, Overcomplete Representation. Matching Pursuit, Basis Pursuit. Convex Optimization, Linear Programming
Year: 2002
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