Nonnegative Blind Source Separation for Ill-Conditioned Mixtures via John Ellipsoid

Chia Hsiang Lin, Jose M. Bioucas-Dias

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Nonnegative blind source separation (nBSS) is often a challenging inverse problem, namely, when the mixing system is ill-conditioned. In this work, we focus on an important nBSS instance, known as hyperspectral unmixing (HU) in remote sensing. HU is a matrix factorization problem aimed at factoring the so-called endmember matrix, holding the material hyperspectral signatures, and the abundance matrix, holding the material fractions at each image pixel. The hyperspectral signatures are usually highly correlated, leading to a fast decay of the singular values (and, hence, high condition number) of the endmember matrix, so HU often introduces an ill-conditioned nBSS scenario. We introduce a new theoretical framework to attack such tough scenarios via the John ellipsoid (JE) in functional analysis. The idea is to identify the maximum volume ellipsoid inscribed in the data convex hull, followed by affinely mapping such ellipsoid into a Euclidean ball. By applying the same affine mapping to the data mixtures, we prove that the endmember matrix associated with the mapped data has condition number 1, the lowest possible, and that these (preconditioned) endmembers form a regular simplex. Exploiting this regular structure, we design a novel nBSS criterion with a provable identifiability guarantee and devise an algorithm to realize the criterion. Moreover, for the first time, the optimization problem for computing JE is exactly solved for a large-scale instance; our solver employs a split augmented Lagrangian shrinkage algorithm with all proximal operators solved by closed-form solutions. The competitiveness of the proposed method is illustrated by numerical simulations and real data experiments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9130919
Pages (from-to)2209-2223
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE Transactions on Neural Networks and Learning Systems
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2021 May

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Artificial Intelligence


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