Plug-and-play (PnP) prior is a well-known class of methods for solving imaging inverse problems by computing fixed-points of operators combining physical measurement models and learned image denoisers. While PnP methods have been extensively used for image recovery with known measurement operators, there is little work on PnP for solving blind inverse problems. We address this gap by presenting a new block-coordinate PnP (BC-PnP) method that efficiently solves this joint estimation problem by introducing learned denoisers as priors on both the unknown image and the unknown measurement operator. We present a new convergence theory for BC-PnP compatible with blind inverse problems by considering nonconvex data-fidelity terms and expansive denoisers. Our theory analyzes the convergence of BC-PnP to a stationary point of an implicit function associated with an approximate minimum mean-squared error (MMSE) denoiser. We numerically validate our method on two blind inverse problems: automatic coil sensitivity estimation in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and blind image deblurring. Our results show that BC-PnP provides an efficient and principled framework for using denoisers as PnP priors for jointly estimating measurement operators and images.
Phase retrieval refers to the problem of recovering an image from the magnitudes of its complex-valued linear measurements. Since the problem is ill-posed, the recovery requires prior knowledge on the unknown image. We present DOLPH as a new deep model-based architecture for phase retrieval that integrates an image prior specified using a diffusion model with a nonconvex data-fidelity term for phase retrieval. Diffusion models are a recent class of deep generative models that are relatively easy to train due to their implementation as image denoisers. DOLPH reconstructs high-quality solutions by alternating data-consistency updates with the sampling step of a diffusion model. Our numerical results show the robustness of DOLPH to noise and its ability to generate several candidate solutions given a set of measurements.
Deep model-based architectures (DMBAs) are widely used in imaging inverse problems to integrate physical measurement models and learned image priors. Plug-and-play priors (PnP) and deep equilibrium models (DEQ) are two DMBA frameworks that have received significant attention. The key difference between the two is that the image prior in DEQ is trained by using a specific measurement model, while that in PnP is trained as a general image denoiser. This difference is behind a common assumption that PnP is more robust to changes in the measurement models compared to DEQ. This paper investigates the robustness of DEQ priors to changes in the measurement models. Our results on two imaging inverse problems suggest that DEQ priors trained under mismatched measurement models outperform image denoisers.
There is a growing interest in deep model-based architectures (DMBAs) for solving imaging inverse problems by combining physical measurement models and learned image priors specified using convolutional neural nets (CNNs). For example, well-known frameworks for systematically designing DMBAs include plug-and-play priors (PnP), deep unfolding (DU), and deep equilibrium models (DEQ). While the empirical performance and theoretical properties of DMBAs have been widely investigated, the existing work in the area has primarily focused on their performance when the desired image prior is known exactly. This work addresses the gap in the prior work by providing new theoretical and numerical insights into DMBAs under mismatched CNN priors. Mismatched priors arise naturally when there is a distribution shift between training and testing data, for example, due to test images being from a different distribution than images used for training the CNN prior. They also arise when the CNN prior used for inference is an approximation of some desired statistical estimator (MAP or MMSE). Our theoretical analysis provides explicit error bounds on the solution due to the mismatched CNN priors under a set of clearly specified assumptions. Our numerical results compare the empirical performance of DMBAs under realistic distribution shifts and approximate statistical estimators.
Plug-and-Play Priors (PnP) and Regularization by Denoising (RED) are widely-used frameworks for solving imaging inverse problems by computing fixed-points of operators combining physical measurement models and learned image priors. While traditional PnP/RED formulations have focused on priors specified using image denoisers, there is a growing interest in learning PnP/RED priors that are end-to-end optimal. The recent Deep Equilibrium Models (DEQ) framework has enabled memory-efficient end-to-end learning of PnP/RED priors by implicitly differentiating through the fixed-point equations without storing intermediate activation values. However, the dependence of the computational/memory complexity of the measurement models in PnP/RED on the total number of measurements leaves DEQ impractical for many imaging applications. We propose ODER as a new strategy for improving the efficiency of DEQ through stochastic approximations of the measurement models. We theoretically analyze ODER giving insights into its convergence and ability to approximate the traditional DEQ approach. Our numerical results suggest the potential improvements in training/testing complexity due to ODER on three distinct imaging applications.