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Sensing

Bhabesh Deka

Department of Electronics and Communication Engineering, Tezpur Central University, India

bdeka@tezu.ernet.in

Abstract— This paper proposes a novel algorithm that unifies the

fields of compressed sensing and sparse representations to

generate a super-resolution image from a single, low-resolution

input along with the use of a training data set. Super-resolution

image reconstruction is currently an active area of research, as it

offers the promise of overcoming some of the inherent resolution

limitations of the imaging systems. In this paper, super-

resolution has been achieved by exploiting the fact that the image

data is highly sparse over some redundant transforms. Inspired

by this observation, we seek a sparse representation for each

patch of the low-resolution image, and then use the coefficients of

this representation to generate the high-resolution image. The

sparsifying dictionary is learned with the use of a training data

set that has been obtained from a collection of high resolution

images, to generate a global dictionary. When compared with

the existing techniques, the proposed method yields much better

results, both visually and quantitatively.

Keywords— Compressed sensing, sparse representation,

dictionary, single image super-resolution, matching pursuit

I. INTRODUCTION

In recent years, image super-resolution has been an active

area of research in the signal processing community. Super-

resolution (SR) refers to recovering the high resolution (HR)

image from a single or multiple low resolution (LR) images of

the same scene, that have lost information embedded in the

higher frequencies during acquisition, transmission or storage

[1],[2]. Conventional reconstruction based SR methods

require alignment and registration of several LR images in

sub-pixel accuracy. The performance of these algorithms

degrades when the number of available input images is small

or the desired magnification factor is large [3]. In contrast,

single-image SR requires only one LR input to determine its

HR version, and therefore becomes more practical for real-

world applications. This is because there are some

applications such as in medical imaging, where we may have

to generate a higher resolution image from a lower resolution

image. Moreover, the setup for high resolution imaging proves

always expensive, and also it may not always be feasible to

obtain a HR image due to the inherent limitations of the

imaging sensor, optics manufacturing technology, etc. These

problems may be overcome through the use of image

processing algorithms, which are relatively inexpensive;

giving rise to the concept of super-resolution. Traditionally,

reconstruction-based SR algorithms [4], [5] define constraints

for the target high-resolution image to improve the quality of

image reconstruction. They require alignment and registration

of several LR images in sub-pixel accuracy. However, ill-

conditioned registration, and inappropriate blurring operator

assumptions limit the scalability of this type of approach.

While methods which introduce additional regularization

alleviate the above problems, their performance will still be

limited by the number of LR images/patches available. Also,

the magnification factor is typically limited to be less than 2

for this type of approach and may thus result in overly smooth

images, lacking important high-frequency details.

In the literature, there are basically two kinds of algorithms

for achieving single image SR [2]. They are as follows:

1. Learning-based or example based super-resolution

algorithms [6], [7].

2. Reconstruction-based super-resolution algorithms [4], [5].

Learning based SR algorithms require dictionaries for up-

sampling an LR image to an SR image. They, typically,

require database of millions of high resolution and low-

resolution patch pairs to make the database for building the

dictionary. Moreover, they are computationally intensive,

often results in blurring effects, due to over-fitting or under-

fitting at the time of reconstruction process. Algorithms in the

second category, reconstruct an SR image by interpolation

from the LR image. It consists of standard bilinear and bicubic

interpolation techniques, and the back projection method [8].

However, these algorithms also result in poor reconstruction

of the high frequency features in the image [4].

In this paper, we show the application of compressed

sensing (CS) to reconstruct the SR image from a single LR

image. In [2], [9], the authors assume that the patches in the

LR image are sparse, when represented on a suitable basis set.

The work in [2] solves the ill-posed SR problem through the

sparsity induced regularization within the framework of

compressed sensing. The major difference between the

proposed method and the method in [2] is that we seek the

sparsity of the image patches taken from an LR image using a

globally learned over-complete dictionary instead of a fixed

basis set, such as the wavelet. Then a sparse reconstruction

problem is solved, governed by the theory of compressed

sensing, to obtain an HR image patch. The HR patches are

finally combined through weighted averaging to obtain the SR

image. Thus, the proposed method amalgamates the fields of

learning, sparsity, and compressed sensing into one cell, and

work in unison to solve the problem of Single Image Super-

resolution.

The rest of the paper is organized as follows. Section II

gives a brief overview of sparse and redundant representations.

Section III introduces the concept of compressed sensing in

signal processing and mentions a few applications of it. Image

super-resolution using compressed sensing has been discussed

in Section IV. Section V describes the proposed algorithm.

Experimental results are discussed in Section VI. Finally,

Section VII concludes the paper.

II. SPARSE AND REDUNDANT REPRESENTATIONS

Basically, sparse representation models a signal as a large

dimension vector with a few non-zero components. In the

Sparseland model [10], signals are represented by linear

combination of atoms from a so called over-complete

dictionary. Formally, an over-complete dictionary is a

collection of prototype signals, called the atoms, such that the

number of atoms exceeds the dimension of the signal,

meaning any signal can be represented by more than one

combination of different atoms.

Let us consider an over-complete dictionary matrix

n K

R

×

e Ψ containing K atoms ( ) K n > and an image patch

of size n n × , arranged as a column vector

n

R e x . If α

represents the coordinate vector with respect to Ψ that

generatesx , then

. = x Ψα (1)

Such a system of equations is ill-posed and has infinite

solutions [10], [11]. Out of these solutions, we require that

solution which has the minimum number of non-zero

components. This requires imposing extra constraints forcing

the Sparsity. Thus the problem of finding sparse

representation is an optimization problem and can be written

as:

0 2

ˆ min subjectto or , c = = ÷ <

α

α α x Ψα x Ψα

(2)

where c is the allowed root mean-square reconstruction error.

The

0

- norm

0

. essentially counts the non-zero entities inα.

This optimization problem can be written in Lagrangian form

as [10]:

2

2 0

ˆ argmin µ = ÷ +

α

α x Ψα α (3)

Thus, we can obtain a unique solution by employing sparse

representations that leads to the solution of many problems,

like the data redundancy. As seen in the above, the selection

of the dictionary Ψis crucial for the sparse representation of

the signal. It can be selected either from a fixed basis set, such

as, the DCT, the KLT, the DWT, etc. or may also be learned

adaptively from a selected data set e.g. the K-SVD [11].

III. COMPRESSED SENSING

It is a new data acquisition theory [12]. It is based on the

property that a signal with sparsity is highly compressible.

Data can be condensed into a very fewer measurements.

Nyquist-Shannon theorem needs a signal to be sampled at a

rate which is at least two times faster than the signal

bandwidth. On the other hand, the theory of compressive

sensing or compressed sensing (CS) needs only a fewer

measurements to encode it. It makes the processing faster and

also decreases the storage space. The application of CS in

signal processing and other related fields of science and

engineering is increasing rapidly, ranging from MRI [13] in

medical science to sensing systems used in war. It is finding

applications in video processing [14], and compressive

imaging [15]. CS has been used in the computer vision and

graphics to solve problems in face recognition [16] and, so on.

IV. IMAGE SUPER-RESOLUTION USING CS

How the concept of compressive signal can be used in

image super-resolution? To exactly understand this problem,

let us consider x be any real-valued, finite-length, discrete-

time signal. Dimension of x is 1 n× . It can be represented in

terms of an orthonormal basis set of 1 n× vectors{ }

1

n

i

i =

ψ .

Using the n n × basis matrix

1 2

[ | | | ]

n

= . Ψ ψ ψ ψ with

the vectors { }

i

Ψ as columns, a signal x can be expressed as

1

or ,

n

i i

i=

= =

¿

x ψ α x Ψα (4)

whereα is the equivalent representation of x in Ψdomain

with dimension 1 n× which denotes the weight coefficients

i.e.

T

= α Ψ x .

Here, the signal x is assumed to be k -sparse, which means

it is a linear combination of only k basis vectors; only k of

the coefficients in (4) are non-zero or significantly large to

represent the signal.

The compressibility of k -sparse signal, forms the basis of

transform coding [17]. In conventional data acquisition system,

transform coding demands the entire set of coefficients αof

the signal x to be computed via

T

= α Ψ x , in spite of

knowing that only k of them are significant. After locating the

k largest coefficients and discarding the remaining; the k

values and locations of the largest coefficients are encoded.

This may introduce an overhead. Moreover, one of the other

inefficiencies is that k may be much smaller in comparison to

n.

On the other hand, compressive sensing considers only a

fewer measurements of x . It is achieved through a linear

measurement process that computes m n inner products

between x and a collection of vectors

1

{ }

n

j j =

φ [17]. This is

represented by

, = x Φx (5)

where Φ is known as the sampling or sensing matrix of

dimension m n × . So, substituting (4) in (5), we can represent

the down sampled signal x as

, or, , = = x ΦΨα x Aα (6)

where the two matricesΦand Ψare mutually incoherent, and

= A ΦΨis the combined equivalent matrix of size m n × .

It is to be noted that in image super-resolution using CS, we

can assume either a redundant or an orthonormal basis set for

the sparse representation of the signal. A pictorial

representation of the sampling process, and the compressed

sensing process for an orthonormal basis set, such as the DCT,

the wavelet, etc., are shown in Fig. 1 and Fig. 2, respectively.

Now, if we consider the down sampled signal x as the low

resolution input, we can solve (6), to get ˆ α. After obtaining

the sparse coefficients, we can apply ˆ Ψα to get ˆ x , the

required HR output image.

To ensure reconstruction by CS, the combined matrix

ΦΨ should obey an important property, known as the

restricted isometry property (RIP) which assures its

orthonormality. It is defined as follows.

A. Restricted Isometry Property

Any arbitrary matrixM, of size m n × andm n , we

cannot solve = y Mz , until and unless Mis said to meet the

RIP condition [12], [17]:

2 2

(1 ) (1 ) ,

I

o o ÷ s s + z M z z (7)

with parameters ( , ) k o , where (0,1) o e for all k -sparse

vector z . In words, for proper values ofo , the RIP ensures

that a measurement matrix will be valid, if every possible set

I

M with k columns of Mforms an approximate orthogonal

set.

Until and unless this condition is satisfied, we cannot use

compressed sensing framework to solve the sparse

optimization problem in (6) for m n

[2], [17].

B. Selection of Φand Ψ

A number of possible pairs for Φ andΨ , include the

identity matrix and the DCT matrix, the noiselets matrix and

the wavelet basis, etc.

In the proposed method, we solve the CS problem by

considering the measurement matrix Φ from one of the

following: the noiselets [18], the random matrix with the

columns vectors uniformly at random on the unit sphere [17],

and the spike basis. Similarly, the representation matrix or

dictionary Ψ from one of the following: the DFT, the

overcomplete DCT [10], and the overcomplete learned

dictionary using the K-SVD [11].

C. Reconstruction Algorithm

If 2 m k > and the combined matrix Ameets the RIP, then

according to the theory of CS, the problem in (6) can be

solved uniquely for the sparsestα, that satisfies the equation.

Thus, we can find the desired ˆ αby solving the following

0

minimization problem:

0

argmin subjectto =

α

α x Aα (8)

In the present problem, given an initial low resolution

image x , we would like to solve (8), to get the high resolution

imagex . This could be achieved through any method for the

representation of a sparse signal. Among other techniques, the

greedy pursuit algorithms are preferred over the convex

optimization method [19], as the former is faster to implement.

The two important greedy pursuit algorithms are, namely,

the Matching Pursuit (MP) [20] and the Orthogonal Matching

Pursuit (OMP) [21]. We have implemented the OMP as it

does not possess the possibility of selecting the same atom

repeatedly, like the MP, and hence faster convergence.

V. PROPOSED ALGORITHM

In the proposed algorithm, Ψ is learned from randomly

selected image patches taken from a database of high

resolution images other than the test images, using the K-SVD

algorithm. The K-SVD algorithm is trained using image

patches of reasonable size. This is because training a large

dictionary using the K-SVD algorithm would be

computationally intractable and difficult [10]. The sampling

matrix Φ is selected as discussed in subsection IV-B. After

learning a globally-trained K-SVD dictionary, the unknown in

(6) is only the sparse coefficient vector

i

α corresponding to

each patch

i

x of the LR image. Therefore, it can be solved

using the OMP and the given matrices Φ and Ψ . After

getting

i

α corresponding to all the patches, the reconstructed

image ˆ x can be obtained by the weighted averaging operation

given by

1

ˆ ˆ ,

T T

i i i i

i i

o

÷

| | | |

= u

| |

\ . \ .

¿ ¿

x L L L

(9)

where

i

L is a binary matrix that extracts a patch from the

image..

Fig. 1 Sampling process

Fig. 2 Compressed sensing process

The overall algorithm for single image super-resolution

using compressed sensing can be summarized as follows:

1. Down-sample the given image by a specified factor (2, 4,

8, etc.). Take the down-sampled image as the LR input.

2. Construct a sampling matrix Φas discussed in subsection

IV-B.

3. Build a dictionary Ψfor the sparse representation of the

signal using the methods described above.

4. Obtain the resultant dictionary = A ΦΨ.

5. Obtain overlapping patches

i

x from the low resolution

input image x .

6. Perform the OMP on each patch to get

i

α .

7. Finally, reconstruct the required high resolution image

using (9).

VI. EXPERIMENTAL RESULTS

We have carried out a series of experiments with the

standard test images of “Lena ( 512 512 × )”, “Barbara

( 512 512 × )”, “Boat ( 512 512 × )”, “Peppers ( 256 256 × )”,

“House (256 256 × )'', and “Cameraman (256 256 × )”.

We construct different sensing matricesΦ

,

namely, the spike

basis, noiselets, and random (using “rand function” in

MATLAB) to get a better idea of its influence in the process

of comparison. The size of this matrix depends upon the size

of the “patches” formed out of the down sampled image

(example: for 2 2 × patch size, the measurement matrix is of

size4 64 × , and so on). The columns of Φare normalized to

have the unit norm.

A dictionary Ψof size 64 256 × is learned using the K-

SVD algorithm, from 100 0008 8 × image patches, randomly

selected from a database of high-resolution images, (sample

images include “couple ( 512 512 × ), “Hill ( 512 512 × )”,

“Aerial (256 256 × )”, “Clock (256 256 × )”, etc.). We also take

dictionaries obtained by the overcomplete DCT (64 256 × ),

the overcomplete DFT, the orthonormal DCT (64 256 × ), and

the orthonormal DFT ( 64 256 × ) for comparison of the

performances of the proposed algorithm. The columns of Ψ

are also normalized to have the unit norm.

We carry out the following experiments to study the

performance of the proposed algorithm.

A. Comparison between reconstructed images by taking

different sensing matrices:

We performed a cumulative study on the influence of

different sensing matrices viz. the spike matrix, the noiselets

and the random matrix on the quality of the output image. The

matrix constructed is of size ( 16 64 × ) (considering a

magnification factor of 2 and patch size of 4 4 × ) and the

image tested upon is that of “Lena”'. Fig. 3 shows the

reconstructed images obtained using different sensing

matrices.

The coherency values, for different sensing matrices and

magnification factor, for the “Lena” image, are summarized in

Table I. All these results are obtained with the globally trained

over-complete K-SVD dictionary as the sparsifying basis.

TABLE I

COHERENCY VALUES FOR DIFFERENT MAGNIFICATION FACTOR AND

SENSING MATRICES

Magnification Noiselets Spike Random

2 0.9625 0.9682 0.9892

4 0.9952 0.9976 0.9998

The RIP criterion says that the sensing and representation

matrices should have the least coherency or the greatest

incoherency between them to yield better result. So, from the

obtained values of coherency as well as from the view of the

output images, we conclude that the noiselets matrix gives the

best result followed by spike and random matrices.

B. Comparison between images of different sizes zoomed

by a factor of 2:

Even though our work involves the use of three different

sensing matrices, namely, the noiselets, the spike and the

random matrices of sizes 16 64 × and 4 64 × (for magnification

factors of 2 and 4, respectively), the results are shown only for

the noiselets matrix of size 16 64 × for input images of size

128 128 × (obtained by down sampling a 256 256 × image size

by 2) and patch size of 4 4 × . This is because the noiselets

gives the lease value of mutual coherence for different

magnification factors. Similarly, the same is true for images of

size256 256 × , obtained by down sampling an image of size

512 512 × by a factor of 2. For the sparsifying basis, a globally

trained over complete K-SVD dictionary of size 64 256 × is

taken for all the above cases.

For images of size 512 512 × , however, when we down

sample them by a factor 2 and then reconstruct their high

resolution versions (magnified by factor 2), the output images

obtained are of high quality with less noise in terms of

blurredness or jaggedness. Fig. 4 shows that the picture

quality is conserved and the output images appear nearly

similar to the original images. On the other hand, images with

size256 256 × , the outputs obtained are degraded by some

amount with the incorporation of noise in the form of

blurredness or jaggedness. Fig. 5 clearly displays this case.

This shows that the reconstruction is highly data dependent.

We may conclude that higher the density of data, higher is the

redundancy among them, and better is the image

reconstruction.

C. Comparison between images of different sizes zoomed

by a factor of 4:

This time we have down sampled each of the test images by

a factor 4. The image patch considered is2 2 × . The noiselets

matrix is now of size 4 64 × and the sparsifying basis is of size

64 256 × . Fig. 6 shows the original image512 512 × , the down

sampled image128 128 × , and the output image. The output is

degraded by a little amount in the form of blurredness or

jaggedness. Blocking artifacts are also introduced to some

extent. Fig. 7 shows the original image of 256 256 × , the down

sampled version 64 64 × and the reconstructed image256 256 × .

The output image is highly degraded. A large amount of noise

in the form of blurredness or jaggedness is added which

degrades the image quality further. Therefore, same

conclusions are drawn as above.

D. Comparison between images obtained using different

interpolation methods and the proposed method:

For this purpose, we extract a small portion of the down

sampled Lena image (Fig. 8(a)) and magnifying it by a factor

of 2 to obtain four different images as arranged in Figs. 8(b)-

(d). From visual comparisons, it has been observed that the

proposed method yields the best result in terms of visual

quality compared to other methods. However, it is

computationally the most complex among the four methods

taken for comparison.

E. Comparison in terms of RMSE value:

It is a measure used to assess how well a method is, to

reconstruct an output image relative to the input image. From

Table II, we observe that RMSE is minimum for

512 512 × ”Lena” image, reconstructed using the noiselets

matrix with a magnification factor 2. The reconstructed image

for 256 256 × size using the random matrix with magnification

factor 4 yields the highest RMSE value. Therefore, we can

conclude that the first case will give better image

reconstruction.

TABLE II

RMSE FOR DIFFERENT MAGNIFICATION FACTORS AND SENSING MATRICES

Image Magnification

RMSE

Noiselets Spike Random

Cameraman

2 0.0738 0.0744 0.0928

4 0.1036 0.1073 0.1597

Lena

2 0.0312 0.0421 0.0586

4 0.0633 0.0680 0.1479

TABLE III

RMSE FOR DIFFERENT INTERPOLATION METHODS AND THE PROPOSED

METHOD

Magnification

RMSE

Bilinear Bicubic Proposed

2 0.0409 0.0314 0.0312

4 0.0697 0.0633 0.0627

Table III clearly shows the RMSE values for two

interpolation methods viz. bilinear and bicubic, and the

proposed method. We get better result with the proposed

method in terms of picture quality followed.

VII. CONCLUSIONS

In this paper, we have proposed a unified scheme that

blends the ideas of sparse and redundant representations and

compressed sensing to obtain single image super-resolution.

Extensive simulations were carried out to study the

performance of the proposed method both visually and

quantitatively. Results obtained by the proposed method are

very encouraging compared to the existing methods. Future

work is in progress to study the possibility of learning the

sensing matrix in order to improve the performance of the

proposed method further.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT

This work is funded by the Department of Science and

Technology, Govt. of India through the DST Fast-Track

Project for Young Scientists (No. SR/FTP/ETA-0112/2011

Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB)).

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Fig. 4: (a) Original image (512×512) (b) Down sampled image (256×256) and (c) Up sampled image (512×512) obtained by a

magnification factor 2.

(a)

(b)

(c)

Fig. 5: (a) Original image (256×256) (b) Down sampled image (128×128) and (c) Up sampled image (256×256) obtained by a

magnification factor 2.

(a)

(b)

(c)

Fig. 3: Original image (512×512) obtained by taking sensing matrix as (a) spike matrix (b) noiselets and (c) randommatrix

(a)

(b) (c)

Fig. 6: (a) Original image (512×512) (b) Down sampled image (128×128) and (c) Up sampled image (512×512) obtained by a

magnification factor 4.

(a)

(b)

(c)

Fig. 7: (a) Original image (256×256) (b) Down sampled image (64×64) (c) Up sampled image (256×256) obtained by a magnification

factor 4.

(a)

(b)

(c)

Fig. 8 (a): Downsampled image (256×256) and reconstructed images obtained by (b) nearest neighbour (c) bilinear (d) bicubic

and the (e) proposed methods.

(a)

(b)

(e)

(d)

(c)

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