Accurate predictions of image variances can be useful for reconstruction algorithm analysis and for the design of regularization methods. Computing the predicted variance at every pixel using matrix-based approximations is impractical. Even most recently adopted methods that are based on local discrete Fourier approximations are impractical since they would require a forward and backprojection and two fast Fourier transform (FFT) calculations for every pixel, particularly for shift-variant systems like fan-beam tomography. This paper describes new "analytical" approaches to predicting the approximate variance maps of 2-D images that are reconstructed by penalized-likelihood estimation with quadratic regularization in fan-beam geometries. The simplest of the proposed analytical approaches requires computation equivalent to one backprojection and some summations, so it is computationally practical even for the data sizes in X-ray computed tomography (CT). Simulation results show that it gives accurate predictions of the variance maps. The parallel-beam geometry is a simple special case of the fan-beam analysis. The analysis is also applicable to 2-D positron emission tomography (PET)
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