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Turbo decoding as an instance of Pearl's “belief propagation” algorithm

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3 Author(s)
McEliece, R.J. ; Dept. of Electr. Eng., California Inst. of Technol., Pasadena, CA, USA ; MacKay, D.J.C. ; Jung-Fu Cheng

We describe the close connection between the now celebrated iterative turbo decoding algorithm of Berrou et al. (1993) and an algorithm that has been well known in the artificial intelligence community for a decade, but which is relatively unknown to information theorists: Pearl's (1982) belief propagation algorithm. We see that if Pearl's algorithm is applied to the “belief network” of a parallel concatenation of two or more codes, the turbo decoding algorithm immediately results. Unfortunately, however, this belief diagram has loops, and Pearl only proved that his algorithm works when there are no loops, so an explanation of the experimental performance of turbo decoding is still lacking. However, we also show that Pearl's algorithm can be used to routinely derive previously known iterative, but suboptimal, decoding algorithms for a number of other error-control systems, including Gallager's (1962) low-density parity-check codes, serially concatenated codes, and product codes. Thus, belief propagation provides a very attractive general methodology for devising low-complexity iterative decoding algorithms for hybrid coded systems

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Selected Areas in Communications, IEEE Journal on  (Volume:16 ,  Issue: 2 )