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List-sequence (LS) decoding has the potential to yield significant coding gain additional to that of conventional single-sequence decoding, and it can be implemented with full backward compatibility in systems where an error-detecting code is concatenated with an error-correcting code. LS maximum-likelihood (ML) decoding provides a list of estimated sequences in likelihood order. For convolutional codes, this list can be obtained with the serial list Viterbi algorithm (SLVA). Through modification of the metric increments of the SLVA, an LS maximum a posteriori (MAP) probability decoding algorithm is obtained that takes into account bitwise a priori probabilities and produces an ordered list of sequence MAP estimates. The performance of the resulting LS-MAP decoding algorithm is studied in this paper. Computer simulations and approximate analytical expressions, based on geometrical considerations of the decision domains of LS decoders, are presented. We focus on the frame-error performance of LS-MAP decoding, with genie-assisted error detection, on the additive white Gaussian noise channel. It is concluded that LS-MAP decoding exploits a priori information more efficiently, in order to achieve performance improvements, than does conventional single-sequence MAP decoding. Interestingly, LS-MAP decoding can provide significant improvements at low signal-to-noise ratios, compared with LS-ML decoding. In this environment, it is furthermore observed that feedback convolutional codes offer performance improvements over their feedforward counterparts. Since LS-MAP decoding can be implemented in existing systems at a modest complexity increase, it should have a wide area of applications, such as joint source-channel decoding and other kinds of iterative decoding.
Date of Publication: March 2005