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Publication# Continuous-Domain Formulation of Inverse Problems for Composite Sparse-Plus-Smooth Signals

Shayan Aziznejad, Thomas Jean Debarre, Michaël Unser

*IEEE-INST ELECTRICAL ELECTRONICS ENGINEERS INC, *2021

Article

Article

Résumé

We present a novel framework for the reconstruction of 1D composite signals assumed to be a mixture of two additive components, one sparse and the other smooth, given a finite number of linear measurements. We formulate the reconstruction problem as a continuous-domain regularized inverse problem with multiple penalties. We prove that these penalties induce reconstructed signals that indeed take the desired form of the sum of a sparse and a smooth component. We then discretize this problem using Riesz bases, which yields a discrete problem that can be solved by standard algorithms. Our discretization is exact in the sense that we are solving the continuous-domain problem over the search space specified by our bases without any discretization error. We propose a complete algorithmic pipeline and demonstrate its feasibility on simulated data.

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Our contribution in this paper is two fold. First, we propose a novel discretization of the forward model for differential phase-contrast imaging that uses B-spline basis functions. The approach yields a fast and accurate algorithm for implementing the forward model, which is based on the first derivative of the Radon transform. Second, as an alternative to the FBP-like approaches that are currently used in practice, we present an iterative reconstruction algorithm that remains more faithful to the data when the number of projections dwindles. Since the reconstruction is an ill-posed problem, we impose a total-variation (TV) regularization constraint. We propose to solve the reconstruction problem using the alternating direction method of multipliers (ADMM). A specificity of our system is the use of a preconditioner that improves the convergence rate of the linear solver in ADMM. Our experiments on test data suggest that our method can achieve the same quality as the standard direct reconstruction, while using only one-third of the projection data. We also find that the approach is much faster than the standard algorithms (ISTA and FISTA) that are typically used for solving linear inverse problems subject to the TV regularization constraint.

Despite being a powerful medical imaging technique which does not emit any ionizing radiation, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) always had the major problem of long scanning times that can take up to an hour depending on the application. It also requires uncomfortable breath-holds due to the slow acquisition, sedation of children and repeated scans in the cases of degraded image quality due to body motion.
Recent years have seen new image reconstruction techniques that need less amount of acquired data (i.e., accelerated scans) for reconstructing MRI images: parallel imaging and compressed sensing (CS). Although much work has been done on the reconstruction side, there has been relatively less work on experimental design, i.e., which parts of the Fourier domain to acquire during the scan, an essential factor that considerably affects the performance of image reconstructions. The state-of-the-art experimental designs use random subsampling either based on parametric models or heuristical adaptive models. The requirement of extensive parameter tuning and the random nature of the performance render these methods impractical and unreliable for clinical use.
Can we systematically use the data acquired during past MRI scans for the design of accelerated scans with a reliable image quality? This problem is the focus of this thesis which proposes a data-driven scan design approach and training procedures which efficiently and effectively learn the structure inherent in the data, and accordingly, design the scans that directly acquire only the most relevant information during acquisition given an acceleration rate constraint. As a result, this boosts the performance of the existing state-of-the-art compressive sensing techniques on real-world datasets. Moreover, this approach provides strong theoretical guarantees by using tools from statistical learning theory.
The intensive computational training procedures of our approach are made feasible by large-scale implementations on a parallel computing cluster. In return, this approach avoids any dependence on parametric or heuristic models and provides a reliably consistent image reconstruction performance for accelerated scans. Our approach is flexible and capable of giving deterministic scan designs specific to the anatomy, to the acceleration rate in use, to the reconstruction algorithm and the scan settings such as static/dynamic and parallel imaging.
Apart from measurement designs for MRI, this thesis also considers the reconstruction problem. In particular, we focus on the inverse problems that involve a mixture of regularizers in the objective function, exploiting multiple structures at the same time. For these problems, we propose a reliable and systematic optimization framework and illustrate its effectiveness. Finally, in the last part of the thesis, we present a data-driven model and an optimization method for the design of nearly isometric, linear and dimensionality reducing embeddings.

Our contribution in this paper is two fold. First, we propose a novel discretization of the forward model for differential phase-contrast imaging that uses B-spline basis functions. The approach yields a fast and accurate algorithm for implementing the forward model, which is based on the first derivative of the Radon transform. Second, as an alternative to the FBP-like approaches that are currently used in practice, we present an iterative reconstruction algorithm that remains more faithful to the data when the number of projections dwindles. Since the reconstruction is an ill-posed problem, we impose a total-variation (TV) regularization constraint. We propose to solve the reconstruction problem using the alternating direction method of multipliers (ADMM). A specificity of our system is the use of a preconditioner that improves the convergence rate of the linear solver in ADMM. Our experiments on test data suggest that our method can achieve the same quality as the standard direct reconstruction, while using only one-third of the projection data. We also find that the approach is much faster than the standard algorithms (ISTA and FISTA) that are typically used for solving linear inverse problems subject to the TV regularization constraint.