Date of Award

Fall 1993

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Electrical Engineering - (Ph.D.)


Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Nirwan Ansari

Second Advisor

Yeheskel Bar-Ness

Third Advisor

Denis L. Blackmore

Fourth Advisor

Alexander Haimovich

Fifth Advisor

Stanley S. Reisman

Sixth Advisor

Ben Yuhas


Linear filters have historically been used in the past as the most useful tools for suppressing noise in signal processing. It has been shown that the optimal filter which minimizes the mean square error (MSE) between the filter output and the desired output is a linear filter provided that the noise is additive white Gaussian noise (AWGN). However, in most signal processing applications, the noise in the channel through which a signal is transmitted is not AWGN; it is not stationary, and it may have unknown characteristics.

To overcome the shortcomings of linear filters, nonlinear filters ranging from the median filters to stack filters have been developed. They have been successfully used in a number of applications, such as enhancing the signal-to-noise ratio of the telecommunication receivers, modeling the human vocal tract to synthesize speech in speech processing, and separating out the maternal and fetal electrocardiogram signals to diagnose prenatal ailments. In particular, stack filters have been shown to provide robust noise suppression, and are easily implementable in hardware, but configuring an optimal stack filter remains a challenge. This dissertation takes on this challenge by extending stack filters to a new class of nonlinear adaptive filters called generalized adaptive neural filters (GANFs). The objective of this work is to investigate their performance in terms of the mean absolute error criterion, to evaluate and predict the generalization of various discriminant functions employed for GANFs, and to address issues regarding their applications and implementation. It is shown that GANFs not only extend the class of stack filters, but also have better performance in terms of suppressing non-additive white Gaussian noise.

Several results are drawn from the theoretical and experimental work: stack filters can be adaptively configured by neural networks; GANFs encompass a large class of nonlinear sliding-window filters which include stack filters; the mean absolute error (MAE) of the optimal GANF is upper-bounded by that of the optimal stack filter; a suitable class of discriminant functions can be determined before a training scheme is executed; VC dimension (VCdim) theory can be applied to determine the number of training samples; the algorithm presented in configuring GANFs is effective and robust.