A theory for sampling signals from a union of subspaces

Yue M. Lu, Minh N. Do

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


One of the fundamental assumptions in traditional sampling theorems is that the signals to be sampled come from a single vector space (e.g., bandlimited functions). However, in many cases of practical interest the sampled signals actually live in a union of subspaces. Examples include piecewise polynomials, sparse representations, nonuniform splines, signals with unknown spectral support, overlapping echoes with unknown delay and amplitude, and so on. For these signals, traditional sampling schemes based on the single subspace assumption can be either inapplicable or highly inefficient. In this paper, we study a general sampling framework where sampled signals come from a known union of subspaces and the sampling operator is linear. Geometrically, the sampling operator can be viewed as projecting sampled signals into a lower dimensional space, while still preserving all the information. We derive necessary and sufficient conditions for invertible and stable sampling operators in this framework and show that these conditions are applicable in many cases. Furthermore, we find the minimum sampling requirements for several classes of signals, which indicates the power of the framework. The results in this paper can serve as a guideline for designing new algorithms for various applications in signal processing and inverse problems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2334-2345
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Transactions on Signal Processing
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2008


  • Linear operators
  • Projections
  • Sampling
  • Shift-invariant spaces
  • Signal representations
  • Stable
  • Union of subspaces

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Signal Processing


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