Semantic regularization of electromagnetic inverse problems

Nat Commun. 2024 May 8;15(1):3869. doi: 10.1038/s41467-024-48115-5.


Solving ill-posed inverse problems typically requires regularization based on prior knowledge. To date, only prior knowledge that is formulated mathematically (e.g., sparsity of the unknown) or implicitly learned from quantitative data can be used for regularization. Thereby, semantically formulated prior knowledge derived from human reasoning and recognition is excluded. Here, we introduce and demonstrate the concept of semantic regularization based on a pre-trained large language model to overcome this vexing limitation. We study the approach, first, numerically in a prototypical 2D inverse scattering problem, and, second, experimentally in 3D and 4D compressive microwave imaging problems based on programmable metasurfaces. We highlight that semantic regularization enables new forms of highly-sought privacy protection for applications like smart homes, touchless human-machine interaction and security screening: selected subjects in the scene can be concealed, or their actions and postures can be altered in the reconstruction by manipulating the semantic prior with suitable language-based control commands.