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Parameter estimation in spherical symmetry groups

Yu-Hui Chen, Dennis Wei, Gregory Newstadt, Marc DeGraef, Jeffrey Simmons, Alfred Hero

Notes: The paper will appear in IEEE Signal Processing Letters in 2015 (pdf).


This paper considers statistical estimation problems where the probability distribution of the observed random variable is invariant with respect to actions of a finite topological group. It is shown that any such distribution must satisfy a restricted finite mixture representation. When specialized to the case of distributions over the sphere that are invariant to the actions of a finite spherical symmetry group G, a group-invariant extension of the Von Mises Fisher (VMF) distribution is obtained. The G-invariant VMF is parameterized by location and scale parameters that specify the distribution’s mean orientation and its concentration about the mean, respectively. Using the restricted finite mixture representation these parameters can be estimated using an Expectation Maximization (EM) maximum likelihood (ML) estimation algorithm. This is illustrated for the problem of mean crystal orientation estimation under the spherically symmetric group associated with the crystal form, e.g., cubic or octahedral or hexahedral. Simulations and experiments establish the advantages of the extended VMF EM-ML estimator for data acquired by Electron Backscatter Diffraction (EBSD) microscopy of a polycrystalline Nickel alloy sample.


The code package of this paper are available on my Bitbucket.

The code for VMF random samples generation can be also found on MATLAB Central