PRIFIRA: General regularization using prior-conditioning for fast radio interferometric imaging

Shahrzad Naghibzadeh*, Alle-Jan van der Veen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
21 Downloads (Pure)


Image formation in radio astronomy is a large-scale inverse problem that is inherently illposed. We present a general algorithmic framework based on a Bayesian-inspired regularized maximum likelihood formulation of the radio astronomical imaging problem with a focus on diffuse emission recovery from limited noisy correlation data. The algorithm is dubbed PRIor-conditioned Fast Iterative Radio Astronomy and is based on a direct embodiment of the regularization operator into the system by right preconditioning. The resulting system is then solved using an iterative method based on projections onto Krylov subspaces. We motivate the use of a beam-formed image (which includes the classical 'dirty image') as an efficient prior-conditioner. Iterative reweighting schemes generalize the algorithmic framework and can account for different regularization operators that encourage sparsity of the solution. The performance of the proposed method is evaluated based on simulated 1D and 2D array arrangements as well as actual data from the core stations of the Low Frequency Array radio telescope antenna configuration, and compared to state-of-the-art imaging techniques. We show the generality of the proposed method in terms of regularization schemes while maintaining a competitive reconstruction quality with the current reconstruction techniques. Furthermore, we show that exploiting Krylov subspace methods together with the proper noise-based stopping criteria results in a great improvement in imaging efficiency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5638-5656
Number of pages19
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project
Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • Methods: numerical
  • Methods: statistical
  • Techniques: image processing
  • Techniques: interferometric


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