An information-maximisation approach to blind separation and blind deconvolution

Anthony J. Bell & Terrence J. Sejnowski

We derive a new self-organising learning algorithm which maximises the information transferred in a network of non-linear units. The algorithm does not assume any knowledge of the input distributions, and is defined here for the zero-noise limit. Under these conditions, information maximisation has extra properties not found in the linear case (Linsker 1989). The non-linearities in the transfer function are able to pick up higher-order moments of the input distributions and perform something akin to true redundancy reduction between units in the output representation. This enables the network to separate statistically independent components in the inputs: a higher-order generalisation of Principal Components Analysis.

We apply the network to the source separation (or cocktail party) problem, successfully separating unknown mixtures of up to ten speakers. We also show that a variant on the network architecture is able to perform blind deconvolution (cancellation of unknown echoes and reverberation in a speech signal). Finally, we derive dependencies of information transfer on time delays. We suggest that information maximisation provides a unifying framework for problems in `blind' signal processing.

07/95 -Tony Bell ( back to Home Page