Jean-Pierre Florens, and Anna Simoni, Regularizing priors for linear inverse problems, TSE Working Paper, n. 10-175, May 2010.


We consider statistical linear inverse problems in Hilbert spaces of the type ˆ Y = Kx + U where we want to estimate the function x from indirect noisy functional observations ˆY . In several applications the operator K has an inverse that is not continuous on the whole space of reference; this phenomenon is known as ill-posedness of the inverse problem. We use a Bayesian approach and a conjugate-Gaussian model. For a very general specification of the probability model the posterior distribution of x is known to be inconsistent in a frequentist sense. Our first contribution consists in constructing a class of Gaussian prior distributions on x that are shrinking with the measurement error U and we show that, under mild conditions, the corresponding posterior distribution is consistent in a frequentist sense and converges at the optimal rate of contraction. Then, a class ^ of posterior mean estimators for x is given. We propose an empirical Bayes procedure for selecting an estimator in this class that mimics the posterior mean that has the smallest risk on the true x.