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This paper presents a high-speed low-complexity Reed-Solomon (RS) decoder architecture using a novel pipelined recursive modified Euclidean (PrME) algorithm block for very high-speed optical communications. The RS decoder features a low-complexity key equation solver using a PrME algorithm block. The recursive structure enables the novel low-complexity PrME algorithm block to be implemented. Pipelining and parallelizing allow the inputs to be received at very high fiber-optic rates, and outputs to be delivered at correspondingly high rates with minimum delay. This paper presents the key ideas applied to the design of an 80-Gb/s RS decoder architecture, especially that for achieving high throughput and reducing complexity. The 80-Gb/s 16-channel RS decoder has been designed and implemented using 0.13-μm CMOS technology in a supply voltage of 1.2 V. The proposed RS decoder has a core gate count of 393 K and operates at a clock rate of 625 MHz.