Generative Bayesian image super resolution with natural image prior

Haichao Zhang, Yanning Zhang, Haisen Li, Thomas S. Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We propose a new single image super resolution (SR) algorithm via Bayesian modeling with a natural image prior modeled by a high-order Markov random field (MRF). SR is one of the long-standing and active topics in image processing community. It is of great use in many practical applications, such as astronomical observation, medical imaging, and the adaptation of low-resolution contents onto high-resolution displays. One category of the conventional approaches for image SR is formulating the problem with Bayesian modeling techniques and then obtaining its maximum-a-posteriori solution, which actually boils down to a regularized regression task. Although straightforward, this approach cannot exploit the full potential offered by the probabilistic modeling, as only the posterior mode is sought. On the other hand, current Bayesian SR approaches using the posterior mean estimation typically use very simple prior models for natural images to ensure the computational tractability. In this paper, we present a Bayesian image SR approach with a flexible high-order MRF model as the prior for natural images. The minimum mean square error (MMSE) criteria are used for estimating the HR image. A Markov chain Monte Carlo-based sampling algorithm is presented for obtaining the MMSE solution. The proposed method cannot only enjoy the benefits offered by the flexible prior, but also has the advantage of making use of the probabilistic modeling to perform a posterior mean estimation, thus is less sensitive to the local minima problem as the MAP solution. Experimental results indicate that the proposed method can generate competitive or better results than state-of-the-art SR algorithms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6200344
Pages (from-to)4054-4067
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Image Processing
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Bayesian minimum mean square error estimation
  • Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC)
  • Markov random field
  • field-of-experts
  • natural image statistics
  • super resolution (SR)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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