Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 34 (NeurIPS 2021)

*Junjie Ma, Ji Xu, Arian Maleki*

We consider a nonlinear inverse problem $\mathbf{y}= f(\mathbf{Ax})$, where observations $\mathbf{y} \in \mathbb{R}^m$ are the componentwise nonlinear transformation of $\mathbf{Ax} \in \mathbb{R}^m$, $\mathbf{x} \in \mathbb{R}^n$ is the signal of interest and $\mathbf{A}$ is a known linear mapping. By properly specifying the nonlinear processing function, this model can be particularized to many signal processing problems, including compressed sensing and phase retrieval. Our main goal in this paper is to understand the impact of sensing matrices, or more specifically the spectrum of sensing matrices, on the difficulty of recovering $\mathbf{x}$ from $\mathbf{y}$. Towards this goal, we study the performance of one of the most successful recovery methods, i.e. the expectation propagation algorithm (EP). We define a notion for the spikiness of the spectrum of $\mathbf{A}$ and show the importance of this measure in the performance of the EP. Whether the spikiness of the spectrum can hurt or help the recovery performance of EP depends on $f$. We define certain quantities based on the function $f$ that enables us to describe the impact of the spikiness of the spectrum on EP recovery. Based on our framework, we are able to show that for instance, in phase-retrieval problems, matrices with spikier spectrums are better for EP, while in 1-bit compressed sensing problems, less spiky (flatter) spectrums offer better recoveries. Our results unify and substantially generalize the existing results that compare sub-Gaussian and orthogonal matrices, and provide a platform toward designing optimal sensing systems.

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