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Random coding of channel decoding with an erasure option is studied. By analyzing the large deviations behavior of the code ensemble, we obtain exact single-letter formulas for the error exponents in lieu of Forney's lower bounds. The analysis technique we use is based on an enhancement and specialization of tools for assessing the statistical properties of certain distance enumerators. We specialize our results to the setup of the binary symmetric channel case with uniform random coding distribution and derive an explicit expression for the error exponent which, unlike Forney's bounds, does not involve optimization over two parameters. We also establish the fact that for this setup, the difference between the exact error exponent corresponding to the probability of undetected decoding error and the exponent corresponding to the erasure event is equal to the threshold parameter. Numerical calculations indicate that for this setup, as well as for a Z-channel, Forney's bound coincides with the exact random coding exponent.
Date of Publication: Oct. 2011