Date of Award

December 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Lixin Shen

Subject Categories

Physical Sciences and Mathematics



Image and signal processing problems of practical importance, such as incomplete

data recovery and compressed sensing, are often modeled as nonsmooth optimization

problems whose objective functions are the sum of two terms, each of which is the

composition of a prox-friendly function with a matrix. Therefore, there is a practical

need to solve such optimization problems. Besides the nondifferentiability of the

objective functions of the associated optimization problems and the larger dimension

of the underlying images and signals, the sum of the objective functions is not,

in general, prox-friendly, which makes solving the problems challenging. Many algorithms have been proposed in literature to attack these problems by making use of the prox-friendly functions in the problems. However, the efficiency of these algorithms

relies heavily on the underlying structures of the matrices, particularly for large scale

optimization problems. In this dissertation, we propose a novel algorithmic framework

that exploits the availability of the prox-friendly functions, without requiring

any structural information of the matrices. This makes our algorithms suitable for

large scale optimization problems of interest. We also prove the convergence of the

developed algorithms.

This dissertation has three main parts. In part 1, we consider the minimization

of functions that are the sum of the compositions of prox-friendly functions with

matrices. We characterize the solutions to the associated optimization problems as

the solutions of fixed point equations that are formulated in terms of the proximity operators of the dual of the prox-friendly functions. By making use of the flexibility

provided by this characterization, we develop a block Gauss-Seidel iterative scheme

for finding a solution to the optimization problem and prove its convergence. We

discuss the connection of our developed algorithms with some existing ones and point

out the advantages of our proposed scheme.

In part 2, we give a comprehensive study on the computation of the proximity

operator of the ℓp-norm with 0 ≤ p < 1. Nonconvexity and non-smoothness have

been recognized as important features of many optimization problems in image and

signal processing. The nonconvex, nonsmooth ℓp-regularization has been recognized

as an efficient tool to identify the sparsity of wavelet coefficients of an image or signal

under investigation. To solve an ℓp-regularized optimization problem, the proximity

operator of the ℓp-norm needs to be computed in an accurate and computationally

efficient way. We first study the general properties of the proximity operator of the

ℓp-norm. Then, we derive the explicit form of the proximity operators of the ℓp-norm

for p ∈ {0, 1/2, 2/3, 1}. Using these explicit forms and the properties of the proximity

operator of the ℓp-norm, we develop an efficient algorithm to compute the proximity

operator of the ℓp-norm for any p between 0 and 1.

In part 3, the usefulness of the research results developed in the previous two

parts is demonstrated in two types of applications, namely, image restoration and

compressed sensing. A comparison with the results from some existing algorithms

is also presented. For image restoration, the results developed in part 1 are applied to solve the ℓ2-TV and ℓ1-TV models. The resulting restored images have higher

peak signal-to-noise ratios and the developed algorithms require less CPU time than

state-of-the-art algorithms. In addition, for compressed sensing applications, our

algorithm has smaller ℓ2- and ℓ∞-errors and shorter computation times than state-ofthe-

art algorithms. For compressed sensing with the ℓp-regularization, our numerical

simulations show smaller ℓ2- and ℓ∞-errors than that from the ℓ0-regularization and

ℓ1-regularization. In summary, our numerical simulations indicate that not only can

our developed algorithms be applied to a wide variety of important optimization

problems, but also they are more accurate and computationally efficient than stateof-

the-art algorithms.


Open Access