Efficient Bayesian Computation for Low-Photon Imaging Problems

Savvas Melidonis, Paul Dobson, Yoann Altmann, Marcelo Pereyra, Konstantinos Zygalakis

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This paper studies a new and highly efficient Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) methodology to perform Bayesian inference in low-photon imaging problems, with particular attention given to situations involving observation noise processes that deviate significantly from Gaussian noise, such as binomial, geometric, and low-intensity Poisson noise. These problems are challenging for many reasons. From an inferential viewpoint, low-photon numbers lead to severe identifiability issues, poor stability, and high uncertainty about the solution. Moreover, low-photon models often exhibit poor regularity properties that make efficient Bayesian computation difficult, e.g., hard nonnegativity constraints, nonsmooth priors, and log-likelihood terms with exploding gradients. More precisely, the lack of suitable regularity properties hinders the use of state-of-the-art Monte Carlo methods based on numerical approximations of the Langevin stochastic differential equation (SDE), as both the SDE and its numerical approximations behave poorly. We address this difficulty by proposing an MCMC methodology based on a reflected and regularized Langevin SDE, which is shown to be well-posed and exponentially ergodic under mild and easily verifiable conditions. This then allows us to derive four reflected proximal Langevin MCMC algorithms to perform Bayesian computation in low-photon imaging problems. The proposed approach is demonstrated with a range of experiments related to image deblurring, denoising, and inpainting under binomial, geometric, and Poisson noise.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1195-1234
Number of pages40
JournalSIAM Journal on Imaging Sciences
Issue number3
Early online date24 Jul 2023
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023


  • Applied Mathematics
  • General Mathematics

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