A Quotient Property for Matrices with Heavy-Tailed Entries and its Application to Noise-Blind Compressed Sensing


For a large class of random matrices $A$ with i.i.d. entries we show that the $\ell_1$-quotient property holds with probability exponentially close to $1$. In contrast to previous results, our analysis does not require concentration of the entrywise distributions. We provide a unified proof that recovers corresponding previous results for (sub-)Gaussian and Weibull distributions. Our findings generalize known results on the geometry of random polytopes, providing lower bounds on the size of the largest Euclidean ball contained in the centrally symmetric polytope spanned by the columns of $A$. At the same time, our results establish robustness of noise-blind $\ell_1$-decoders for recovering sparse vectors $x$ from underdetermined, noisy linear measurements $y=Ax+w$ under the weakest possible assumptions on the entrywise distributions that allow for recovery with optimal sample complexity even in the noiseless case. Our analysis predicts superior robustness behavior for measurement matrices with super-Gaussian entries, which we confirm by numerical experiments.


This preprint has been extended considerably in the article On the geometry of polytopes generated by heavy-tailed random vectors.