2009

LDPC Codes With Minimum Distance Proportional to Block Size

These codes offer both low decoding thresholds and low error floors.

Low-density parity-check (LDPC) codes characterized by minimum Hamming distances proportional to block sizes have been demonstrated. Like the codes mentioned in the immediately preceding article, the present codes are error-correcting codes suitable for use in a variety of wireless data-communication systems that include noisy channels.

The previously mentioned codes have low decoding thresholds and reasonably low error floors. However, the minimum Hamming distances of those codes do not grow linearly with code-block sizes. Codes that have this minimum-distance property exhibit very low error floors. Examples of such codes include regular LDPC codes with variable degrees of at least 3. Unfortunately, the decoding thresholds of regular LDPC codes are high. Hence, there is a need for LDPC codes characterized by both low decoding thresholds and, in order to obtain acceptably low error floors, minimum Hamming distances that are proportional to code-block sizes.

The present codes were developed to satisfy this need. The minimum Hamming distances of the present codes have been shown, through consideration of ensemble-average weight enumerators, to be proportional to code block sizes. As in the cases of irregular ensembles, the properties of these codes are sensitive to the proportion of degree-2 variable nodes. A code having too few such nodes tends to have an iterative decoding threshold that is far from the capacity threshold. A code having too many such nodes tends not to exhibit a minimum distance that is proportional to block size.

Results of computational simulations have shown that the decoding thresholds of codes of the present type are lower than those of regular LDPC codes. Included in the simulations were a few examples from a family of codes characterized by rates ranging from low to high and by thresholds that adhere closely to their respective channel capacity thresholds; the simulation results from these examples showed that the codes in question have low error floors as well as low decoding thresholds.

As an example, the illustration shows the protograph (which represents the blueprint for overall construction) of one proposed code family for code rates greater than or equal to 1/2. Any size LDPC code can be obtained by copying the protograph structure N times, then permuting the edges. The illustration also provides Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) hardware performance simulations for this code family. In addition, the illustration provides minimum signal-to-noise ratios (Eb/No) in decibels (decoding thresholds) to achieve zero error rates as the code block size goes to infinity for various code rates. In comparison with the codes mentioned in the preceding article, these codes have slightly higher decoding thresholds.

The present codes offer one main disadvantage with respect to the codes described previously: These codes do not lend themselves to computationally efficient structures that can be implemented in high-speed encoder hardware. However, high-speed encoder implementation can be expected to be a subject of future research.

This work was done by Dariush Divsalar, Christopher Jones, Samuel Dolinar, and Jeremy Thorpe of Caltech for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

In accordance with Public Law 96-517, the contractor has elected to retain title to this invention. Inquiries concerning rights for its commercial use should be addressed to:

Innovative Technology Assets Management
JPL
Mail Stop 202-233
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena, CA 91109-8099
(818) 354-2240
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Refer to NPO-42063, volume and number of this NASA Tech Briefs issue, and the page number.

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