Recovering non-negative and combined sparse representations

Karthikeyan Natesan Ramamurthy, Jayaraman J. Thiagarajan, Andreas Spanias

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The non-negative solution to an underdetermined linear system can be uniquely recovered sometimes, even without imposing any additional sparsity constraints. In this paper, we derive conditions under which a unique non-negative solution for such a system can exist, based on the theory of polytopes. Furthermore, we develop the paradigm of combined sparse representations, where only a part of the coefficient vector is constrained to be non-negative, and the rest is unconstrained (general). We analyze the recovery of the unique, sparsest solution, for combined representations, under three different cases of coefficient support knowledge: (a) the non-zero supports of non-negative and general coefficients are known, (b) the non-zero support of general coefficients alone is known, and (c) both the non-zero supports are unknown. For case (c), we propose the combined orthogonal matching pursuit algorithm for coefficient recovery and derive the deterministic sparsity threshold under which recovery of the unique, sparsest coefficient vector is possible. We quantify the order complexity of the algorithms, and examine their performance in exact and approximate recovery of coefficients under various conditions of noise. Furthermore, we also obtain their empirical phase transition characteristics. We show that the basis pursuit algorithm, with partial non-negative constraints, and the proposed greedy algorithm perform better in recovering the unique sparse representation when compared to their unconstrained counterparts. Finally, we demonstrate the utility of the proposed methods in recovering images corrupted by saturation noise.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-35
Number of pages15
JournalDigital Signal Processing: A Review Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2014


  • Non-negative representations
  • Orthogonal matching pursuit
  • Sparse representations
  • Underdetermined linear system
  • Unique sparse solution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Signal Processing
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Statistics, Probability and Uncertainty
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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