Sparsity-inducing nonconvex nonseparable regularization for convex image processing

Alessandro Lanza, Serena Morigi, Ivan W. Selesnick, Fiorella Sgallari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A popular strategy for determining solutions to linear least-squares problems relies on using sparsitypromoting regularizers and is widely exploited in image processing applications such as, e.g., image denoising, deblurring, and inpainting. It is well known that, in general, nonconvex regularizers hold the potential for promoting sparsity more effectively than convex regularizers such as, e.g., those involving the \ell 1 norm. To avoid the intrinsic difficulties related to non-convex optimization, the convex nonconvex (CNC) strategy has been proposed, which allows the use of nonconvex regularization while maintaining convexity of the total objective function. In this paper, a new CNC variational model is proposed, based on a more general parametric nonconvex nonseparable regularizer. The proposed model is applicable to a greater variety of image processing problems than prior CNC methods. We derive the convexity conditions and related theoretical properties of the presented CNC model, and we analyze existence and uniqueness of its solutions. A primal-dual forward-backward splitting algorithm is proposed for solving the related saddle-point problem. The convergence of the algorithm is demonstrated theoretically and validated empirically. Several numerical experiments are presented which prove the effectiveness of the proposed approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1099-1134
Number of pages36
JournalSIAM Journal on Imaging Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2019


  • Convex nonconvex strategy
  • Sparsity-promoting regularization
  • Variational method

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Mathematics
  • Applied Mathematics


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