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Inverse Problem Regularization with Hierarchical Variational Autoencoders
In this paper, we propose to regularize ill-posed inverse problems using a deep hierarchical Variational AutoEncoder (HVAE) as an image prior. The proposed method synthesizes the advantages of i) denoiser-based Plug & Play approaches and ii) generative model based approaches to inverse problems. First, we exploit VAE properties to design an efficient algorithm that benefits from convergence guarantees of Plug-and-Play (PnP) methods. Second, our approach is not restricted to specialized datasets and the proposed PnP-HVAE model is able to solve image restoration problems on natural images of any size. Our experiments show that the proposed PnP-HVAE method is competitive with both SOTA denoiser-based PnP approaches, and other SOTA restoration methods based on generative models. The code for this project is available at https://github.com/jprost76/PnP-HVAE.