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In this paper, we present error-correcting codes that achieve the information-theoretically best possible tradeoff between the rate and error-correction radius. Specifically, for every 0 < R < 1 and epsiv < 0, we present an explicit construction of error-correcting codes of rate that can be list decoded in polynomial time up to a fraction (1- R - epsiv) of worst-case errors. At least theoretically, this meets one of the central challenges in algorithmic coding theory. Our codes are simple to describe: they are folded Reed-Solomon codes, which are in fact exactly Reed-Solomon (RS) codes, but viewed as a code over a larger alphabet by careful bundling of codeword symbols. Given the ubiquity of RS codes, this is an appealing feature of our result, and in fact our methods directly yield better decoding algorithms for RS codes when errors occur in phased bursts. The alphabet size of these folded RS codes is polynomial in the block length. We are able to reduce this to a constant (depending on epsiv) using existing ideas concerning ldquolist recoveryrdquo and expander-based codes. Concatenating the folded RS codes with suitable inner codes, we get binary codes that can be efficiently decoded up to twice the radius achieved by the standard GMD decoding.