Noise, traditionally defined as an unwanted signal or disturbance, has been shown to play an important constructive role in many information processing systems and algorithms. This noise enhancement has been observed and employed in many physical, biological, and engineered systems. Indeed stochastic facilitation (SF) has been found critical for certain biological information functions such as detection of weak, subthreshold stimuli or suprathreshold signals through both experimental verification and analytical model simulations. In this paper, we present a systematic noise-enhanced information processing framework to analyze and optimize the performance of engineered systems. System performance is evaluated not only in terms of signal-to-noise ratio but also in terms of other more relevant metrics such as probability of error for signal detection or mean square error for parameter estimation. As an important new instance of SF, we also discuss the constructive effect of noise in associative memory recall. Potential enhancement of image processing systems via the addition of noise is discussed with important applications in biomedical image enhancement, image denoising, and classification.
© 2014 IEEE. Personal use of this material is permitted. Permission from IEEE must be obtained for all other uses, in any current or future media, including reprinting/republishing this material for advertising or promotional purposes, creating new collective works, for resale or redistribution to servers or lists, or reuse of any copyrighted component of this work in other works. doi: 10.1109/JPROC.2014.2341554
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