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Distributed Processing of Blind Source Separation

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posted on 22.11.2021, 10:04 authored by Mir Alavi, Seyed Reza

Communication is performed by transmitting signals through a medium. It is common that signals originating from different sources are mixed in the transport medium. The operation of separating source signals without prior information about the sources is referred to as blind source separation (BSS). Blind source separation for wireless sensor networks has recently received attention because of low cost and the easy coverage of large areas. Distributed processing is attractive as it is scalable and consumes low power. Existing distributed BSS algorithms either require a fully connected pattern of connectivity, to ensure the good performance, or require a high computational load at each sensor node, to enhance the scalability. This motivates us to develop distributed BSS algorithms that can be implemented over any arbitrary graph with fully shared computations and with good performance.  This thesis presents three studies on distributed algorithms. The first two studies are on existing distributed algorithms that are used in linearly constrained convex optimization problems, which are common in signal processing and machine learning. The studies are aimed at improving the algorithms in terms of computational complexity, communication cost, processors coordination and scalability. This makes them more suitable for implementation on sensor networks, thus forming a basis for the development of distributed BSS algorithms on sensor networks in our third study.  In the first study, we consider constrained problems in which the constraint includes a weighted sum of all the decision variables. By formulating a constrained dual problem associated to the original constrained problem, we were able to develop a distributed algorithm that can be run both synchronously and asynchronously on any arbitrary graph with lower communication cost than traditional distributed algorithms.  In the second study, we consider constrained problems in which the constraint is separable. By making use of the augmented Lagrangian function and splitting the dual variable (Lagrange multiplier) associated to each partial constraint, we were able to develop a distributed fully asynchronous algorithm with lower computational complexity than traditional distributed algorithms. The simplicity of the algorithm is the consequence of approximating the constraint on the equality of the decoupled dual variables. We also provide a measure of the inaccuracy in such an approximation on the optimal value of the primal objective function. Finally, in the third study, we investigate distributed processing solutions for BSS on sensor networks. We propose two distributed processing schemes for BSS that we refer to as scheme 1 and scheme 2. In scheme 1, each sensor node estimates one specific source signal while in scheme 2, by formulating a consensus optimization problem, each sensor node estimates all source signals in a fully shared computation manner. Our proposed algorithms carry the following features: low computational complexity, low power consumption, low data transmission rate, scalability and excellent performance over arbitrary graphs. Although all of our proposed algorithms share the aforementioned properties, each of them is superior in one or some of the features compared to the others. Comparative experimental results show that among all our proposed distributed BSS algorithms, a variant of scheme 1 performs best when all features are considered. This is achieved by making use of the concept of pairwise mutual information along with adding a sparsity assumption on the parameters of the model that is used in BSS.


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Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

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Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Doctoral Thesis



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Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Engineering and Computer Science


Kleijn, Bastiaan