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An artificial neural net Viterbi decoder

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2 Author(s)
Xiao-an Wang ; Sch. of Electr. & Comput. Eng., Georgia Inst. of Technol., Atlanta, GA, USA ; Wicker, S.B.

The Viterbi algorithm is a maximum likelihood means for decoding convolutional codes and has thus played an important role in applications ranging from satellite communications to cellular telephony. In the past, Viterbi decoders have usually been implemented using digital circuits. The speed of these digital decoders is directly related to the amount of parallelism in the design. As the constraint length of the code increases, parallelism becomes problematic due to the complexity of the decoder. In this paper an artificial neural network (ANN) Viterbi decoder is presented. The ANN decoder is significantly faster than comparable digital-only designs due to its fully parallel architecture. The fully parallel structure is obtained by implementing most of the Viterbi algorithm using analog neurons as opposed to digital circuits. Several modifications to the ANN decoder are considered, including an analog/digital hybrid design that results in an extremely fast and efficient decoder. The ANN decoder requires one-sixth the number of transistors required by the digital decoder. The connection weights of the ANN decoder are either +1 or -1, so weight considerations in the implementation are eliminated. This, together with the design's modularity and local connectivity, makes the ANN Viterbi decoder a natural fit for VLSI implementation. Simulation results are provided to show that the performance of the ANN decoder matches that of an ideal Viterbi decoder

Published in:

Communications, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:44 ,  Issue: 2 )