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Reducing statistical dependencies in natural signals using radial Gaussianization
Siwei Lyu · Eero Simoncelli

We consider the problem of efficiently encoding a signal by transforming it to a new representation whose components are statistically independent. A widely studied linear solution, independent components analysis (ICA), exists for the case when the signal is generated as a linear transformation of independent non- Gaussian sources. Here, we examine a complementary case, in which the source is non-Gaussian but elliptically symmetric. In this case, no linear transform suffices to properly decompose the signal into independent components, but we show that a simple nonlinear transformation, which we call radial Gaussianization (RG), is able to remove all dependencies. We then demonstrate this methodology in the context of natural signal statistics. We first show that the joint distributions of bandpass filter responses, for both sound and images, are better described as elliptical than linearly transformed independent sources. Consistent with this, we demonstrate that the reduction in dependency achieved by applying RG to either pairs or blocks of bandpass filter responses is significantly greater than that achieved by PCA or ICA.

Author Information

Siwei Lyu (University at Albany SUNY)
Eero Simoncelli (FlatIron Institute / New York University)

Eero P. Simoncelli received the B.S. degree in Physics in 1984 from Harvard University, studied applied mathematics at Cambridge University for a year and a half, and then received the M.S. degree in 1988 and the Ph.D. degree in 1993, both in Electrical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was an Assistant Professor in the Computer and Information Science department at the University of Pennsylvania from 1993 until 1996. He moved to New York University in September of 1996, where he is currently a Professor in Neural Science, Mathematics, and Psychology. In August 2000, he became an Associate Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, under their new program in Computational Biology. In Fall 2020, he resigned his HHMI appointment to become the scientific director of the Center for Computational Neuroscience at the Flatiron Institute, of the Simons Foundation. His research interests span a wide range of topics in the representation and analysis of visual images, in both machine and biological systems.

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