Boumal, N.; Bendory, T.; Lederman, R. R. & Singer, A. Heterogeneous multireference alignment: A single pass approach. Proc. 52nd Annual Conf. Information Sciences and Systems (CISS), 2018, 1-6
Multireference alignment (MRA) is the problem of estimating a signal from many noisy and cyclically shifted copies of itself. In this paper, we consider an extension called heterogeneous MRA, where K signals must be estimated, and each observation comes from one of those signals, unknown to us. This is a simplified model for the heterogeneity problem notably arising in cryo-electron microscopy. We propose an algorithm which estimates the K signals without estimating either the shifts or the classes of the observations. It requires only one pass over the data and is based on low-order moments that are invariant under cyclic shifts. Given sufficiently many measurements, one can estimate these invariant features averaged over the K signals. We then design a smooth, non-convex optimization problem to compute a set of signals which are consistent with the estimated averaged features. We find that, in many cases, the proposed approach estimates the set of signals accurately despite non-convexity, and conjecture the number of signals K that can be resolved as a function of the signal length L is on the order of √L.