### Nonlinear image recovery with half-quadratic regularization

One popular method for the recovery of an ideal intensity image from corrupted or indirect measurements is regularization: minimize an objective function that enforces a roughness penalty in addition to coherence with the data. Linear estimates are relatively easy to compute but generally introduce systematic errors; for example, they are incapable of recovering discontinuities and other important image attributes. In contrast, nonlinear estimates are more accurate but are often far less accessible. This is particularly true when the objective function is nonconvex, and the distribution of each data component depends on many image components through a linear operator with broad support. Our approach is based on an auxiliary array and an extended objective function in which the original variables appear quadratically and the auxiliary variables are decoupled. Minimizing over the auxiliary array alone yields the original function so that the original image estimate can be obtained by joint minimization. This can be done efficiently by Monte Carlo methods, for example by FFT-based annealing using a Markov chain that alternates between (global) transitions from one array to the other. Experiments are reported in optical astronomy, with space telescope data, and computed tomography.

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