Dealing with nonlinearities in Kalman filters through Monte Carlo modelling for minimizing divergence

S. Gultekin and J. Paisley, Nonlinear Kalman Filtering With Divergence Minimization, IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing, vol. 65, no. 23, pp. 6319-6331, DOI: 10.1109/TSP.2017.2752729.

We consider the nonlinear Kalman filtering problem using Kullback-Leibler (KL) and α-divergence measures as optimization criteria. Unlike linear Kalman filters, nonlinear Kalman filters do not have closed form Gaussian posteriors because of a lack of conjugacy due to the nonlinearity in the likelihood. In this paper, we propose novel algorithms to approximate this posterior by optimizing the forward and reverse forms of the KL divergence, as well as the α-divergence that contains these two as limiting cases. Unlike previous approaches, our algorithms do not make approximations to the divergences being optimized, but use Monte Carlo techniques to derive unbiased algorithms for direct optimization. We assess performance on radar and sensor tracking, and options pricing, showing general improvement over the extended, unscented, and ensemble Kalman filters, as well as competitive performance with particle filtering.

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