Bayesian imaging using Plug & Play priors: when Langevin meets Tweedie


Since the seminal work of Venkatakrishnan et al. (2013), Plug & Play (PnP) methods have become ubiquitous in Bayesian imaging. These methods derive Minimum Mean Square Error (MMSE) or Maximum A Posteriori (MAP) estimators for inverse problems in imaging by combining an explicit likelihood function with a prior that is implicitly defined by an image denoising algorithm. The PnP algorithms proposed in the literature mainly differ in the iterative schemes they use for optimisation or for sampling. In the case of optimisation schemes, some recent works guarantee the convergence to a fixed point, albeit not necessarily a MAP estimate. In the case of sampling schemes, to the best of our knowledge, there is no known proof of convergence. There also remain important open questions regarding whether the underlying Bayesian models and estimators are well defined, well-posed, and have the basic regularity properties required to support these numerical schemes. To address these limitations, this paper develops theory, methods, and provably convergent algorithms for performing Bayesian inference with PnP priors. We introduce two algorithms: 1) PnP-ULA (Unadjusted Langevin Algorithm) for Monte Carlo sampling and MMSE inference; and 2) PnP-SGD (Stochastic Gradient Descent) for MAP inference. Using recent results on the quantitative convergence of Markov chains, we establish detailed convergence guarantees for these two algorithms under realistic assumptions on the denoising operators used, with special attention to denoisers based on deep neural networks. We also show that these algorithms approximately target a decision-theoretically optimal Bayesian model that is well-posed. The proposed algorithms are demonstrated on several canonical problems such as image deblurring, inpainting, and denoising, where they are used for point estimation as well as for uncertainty visualisation and quantification.


Here are the slides for a presentation RĂ©mi Laumont gave at the Centre Borelli imaging seminar.

Marcelo Pereyra gave a talk at the OneWorld SIAM-IS Virtual Seminar Series on our work (March 24, 2021).