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Concept# Independent component analysis

Summary

In signal processing, independent component analysis (ICA) is a computational method for separating a multivariate signal into additive subcomponents. This is done by assuming that at most one subcomponent is Gaussian and that the subcomponents are statistically independent from each other. ICA is a special case of blind source separation. A common example application is the "cocktail party problem" of listening in on one person's speech in a noisy room.
Independent component analysis attempts to decompose a multivariate signal into independent non-Gaussian signals. As an example, sound is usually a signal that is composed of the numerical addition, at each time t, of signals from several sources. The question then is whether it is possible to separate these contributing sources from the observed total signal. When the statistical independence assumption is correct, blind ICA separation of a mixed signal gives very good results. It is also used for signals that are not supposed to be generated by mixing for analysis purposes.
A simple application of ICA is the "cocktail party problem", where the underlying speech signals are separated from a sample data consisting of people talking simultaneously in a room. Usually the problem is simplified by assuming no time delays or echoes. Note that a filtered and delayed signal is a copy of a dependent component, and thus the statistical independence assumption is not violated.
Mixing weights for constructing the observed signals from the components can be placed in an matrix. An important thing to consider is that if sources are present, at least observations (e.g. microphones if the observed signal is audio) are needed to recover the original signals. When there are an equal number of observations and source signals, the mixing matrix is square (). Other cases of underdetermined () and overdetermined () have been investigated.
That the ICA separation of mixed signals gives very good results is based on two assumptions and three effects of mixing source signals.

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