Iterative weighted maximum likelihood denoising with probabilistic patch-based weights

Charles-Alban Deledalle, Loïc Denis, Florence Tupin
IEEE Transactions on Image Processing: a Publication of the IEEE Signal Processing Society 2009, 18 (12): 2661-72
Image denoising is an important problem in image processing since noise may interfere with visual or automatic interpretation. This paper presents a new approach for image denoising in the case of a known uncorrelated noise model. The proposed filter is an extension of the nonlocal means (NL means) algorithm introduced by Buades , which performs a weighted average of the values of similar pixels. Pixel similarity is defined in NL means as the Euclidean distance between patches (rectangular windows centered on each two pixels). In this paper, a more general and statistically grounded similarity criterion is proposed which depends on the noise distribution model. The denoising process is expressed as a weighted maximum likelihood estimation problem where the weights are derived in a data-driven way. These weights can be iteratively refined based on both the similarity between noisy patches and the similarity of patches extracted from the previous estimate. We show that this iterative process noticeably improves the denoising performance, especially in the case of low signal-to-noise ratio images such as synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images. Numerical experiments illustrate that the technique can be successfully applied to the classical case of additive Gaussian noise but also to cases such as multiplicative speckle noise. The proposed denoising technique seems to improve on the state of the art performance in that latter case.

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