Fast Orthonormal Sparsifying Transforms Based on Householder Reflectors

Cristian Rusu, Nuria Gonzalez-Prelcic, Robert Heath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dictionary learning is the task of determining a data-dependent transform that yields a sparse representation of some observed data. The dictionary learning problem is non-convex, and usually solved via computationally complex iterative algorithms. Furthermore, the resulting transforms obtained generally lack structure that permits their fast application to data. To address this issue, this paper develops a framework for learning orthonormal dictionaries which are built from products of a few Householder reflectors. Two algorithms are proposed to learn the reflector coefficients: one that considers a sequential update of the reflectors and one with a simultaneous update of all reflectors that imposes an additional internal orthogonal constraint. The proposed methods have low computational complexity and are shown to converge to local minimum points which can be described in terms of the spectral properties of the matrices involved. The resulting dictionaries balance between the computational complexity and the quality of the sparse representations by controlling the number of Householder reflectors in their product. Simulations of the proposed algorithms are shown in the image processing setting where well-known fast transforms are available for comparisons. The proposed algorithms have favorable reconstruction error and the advantage of a fast implementation relative to the classical, unstructured, dictionaries.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6589 - 6599
JournalIEEE Transactions on Signal Processing
Issue number24
Early online date19 Oct 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Oct 2016


  • sparsifying transforms
  • compressed sensing
  • dictionary learning
  • fast transforms

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