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The mutual information of independent parallel Gaussian-noise channels is maximized, under an average power constraint, by independent Gaussian inputs whose power is allocated according to the waterfilling policy. In practice, discrete signaling constellations with limited peak-to-average ratios (m-PSK, m-QAM, etc.) are used in lieu of the ideal Gaussian signals. This paper gives the power allocation policy that maximizes the mutual information over parallel channels with arbitrary input distributions. Such policy admits a graphical interpretation, referred to as mercury/waterfilling, which generalizes the waterfilling solution and allows retaining some of its intuition. The relationship between mutual information of Gaussian channels and nonlinear minimum mean-square error (MMSE) proves key to solving the power allocation problem.
Date of Publication: July 2006