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Stochastics and Statistics Seminar

Statistical estimation under group actions: The Sample Complexity of Multi-Reference Alignment

March 9, 2018 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Afonso Bandeira (NYU)


Abstract: : Many problems in signal/image processing, and computer vision amount to estimating a signal, image, or tri-dimensional structure/scene from corrupted measurements. A particularly challenging form of measurement corruption are latent transformations of the underlying signal to be recovered. Many such transformations can be described as a group acting on the object to be recovered. Examples include the Simulatenous Localization and Mapping (SLaM) problem in Robotics and Computer Vision, where pictures of a scene are obtained from different positions andorientations; Cryo-Electron Microscopy (Cryo-EM) imaging where projections of a molecule density are taken from unknown rotations, and several others.

One fundamental example of this type of problems is Multi-Reference Alignment: Given a group acting in a space, the goal is to estimate an orbit of the group action from noisy samples. For example, in one of its simplest forms, one is tasked with estimating a signal from noisy cyclically shifted copies. We will show that the number of observations needed by any method has a surprising dependency on the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), and algebraic properties of the underlying group action. Remarkably, in some important cases, this sample complexity is achieved with computationally efficient methods based on computing invariants under the group of transformations.

Biography: Afonso is an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences with a joint appointment in the Center for Data Science at NYU. He is also a member of the NYU Math and Data Group. More information can be found here.

A video of the seminar is available to watch here.

MIT Statistics + Data Science Center
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307