I am trying to reconstruct a positive sparse signal using compressed sensing (friedlanders code), I cannot find a way to impose the positivity constraint for this implementation. I have seen some papers discussing positive signals case but cannot find any code implementations, can anyone please point out to any relevant code.

  • $\begingroup$ Does it matter which programming language? Python, Matlab, etc.? $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 7, 2017 at 5:21
  • $\begingroup$ nope, anything is fine $\endgroup$
    – Pavan
    Commented Nov 8, 2017 at 8:55
  • $\begingroup$ @Pavan, Could you mark my question? $\endgroup$
    – Royi
    Commented Mar 2, 2020 at 14:06

2 Answers 2


SparseLab should be able to solve the positivity-constrained problem: SparseLab (Stanford) - Seeking Sparse Solutions to Linear System of Equations.

See Donoho & Tanner, "Precise Undersampling Theorems" for a definition of the problem.

This toolbox depends on Matlab.

  • $\begingroup$ thank you very much, this is what I was looking for, esp. the non-negative fourier example $\endgroup$
    – Pavan
    Commented Nov 27, 2017 at 16:37
  • $\begingroup$ @Pavan you're welcome. Consider voting the answer up. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 28, 2017 at 17:07

I assume you're after the following optimization problem:

$$\begin{align*} \arg \min_{x} \; & {\left\| x \right\|}_{1} \\ \text{subject to} \; & A x = b \\ & x \succeq 0 \end{align*}$$

This is pretty simple problem if we pay attention fo the fast that given $ x \succeq 0 $ then $ {\left\| x \right\|}_{1} = \boldsymbol{1}^{T} x $.

This means the above problem is equivalent of:

$$\begin{align*} \arg \min_{x} \; & \boldsymbol{1}^{T} x \\ \text{subject to} \; & A x = b \\ & x \succeq 0 \end{align*}$$

Now, this is a Linear Programming problem which can be easily solved using MATLAB or any other LP solver.

For instance, in MATLAB it will be something like that:

numRows = 10;
numCols = 100;

mA = randn([numRows, numCols]);
vB = randn([numRows, 1]);

vE = ones([numCols, 1]); %<! Vector of ones to sum vX

vX = linprog(vE, [], [], mA, vB, zeros([numCols, 1]), inf([numCols, 1]));

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