Kernel-based nonlinear blind source separation

Stefan Harmeling, Andreas Ziehe, Motoaki Kawanabe, Klaus Robert Müller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

106 Citations (Scopus)


We propose kTDSEP, a kernel-based algorithm for nonlinear blind source separation (BSS). It combines complementary research fields: kernel feature spaces and BSS using temporal information. This yields an efficient algorithm for nonlinear BSS with invertible nonlinearity. Key assumptions are that the kernel feature space is chosen rich enough to approximate the nonlinearity and that signals of interest contain temporal information. Both assumptions are fulfilled for a wide set of real-world applications. The algorithm works as follows: First, the data are (implicitly) mapped to a high (possibly infinite)-dimensional kernel feature space. In practice, however, the data form a smaller submanifold in feature space - even smaller than the number of training data points - a fact that has already been used by, for example, reduced set techniques for support vector machines. We propose to adapt to this effective dimension as a preprocessing step and to construct an orthonormal basis of this submanifold. The latter dimension-reduction step is essential for making the subsequent application of BSS methods computationally and numerically tractable. In the reduced space, we use a BSS algorithm that is based on second-order temporal decorrelation. Finally, we propose a selection procedure to obtain the original sources from the extracted nonlinear components automatically. Experiments demonstrate the excellent performance and efficiency of our kTDSEP algorithm for several problems of nonlinear BSS and for more than two sources.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1089-1124
Number of pages36
JournalNeural Computation
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2003 May

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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