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Minimal vectors in linear codes

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2 Author(s)
Ashikhmin, A. ; Los Alamos Nat. Lab., NM, USA ; Barg, A.

Minimal vectors in linear codes arise in numerous applications, particularly, in constructing decoding algorithms and studying linear secret sharing schemes. However, properties and structure of minimal vectors have been largely unknown. We prove basic properties of minimal vectors in general linear codes. Then we characterize minimal vectors of a given weight and compute their number in several classes of codes, including the Hamming codes and second-order Reed-Muller codes. Further, we extend the concept of minimal vectors to codes over rings and compute them for several examples. Turning to applications, we introduce a general gradient-like decoding algorithm of which minimal-vectors decoding is an example. The complexity of minimal-vectors decoding for long codes is determined by the size of the set of minimal vectors. Therefore, we compute this size for long randomly chosen codes. Another example of algorithms in this class is given by zero-neighbors decoding. We discuss relations between the two decoding methods. In particular, we show that for even codes the set of zero neighbors is strictly optimal in this class of algorithms. This also implies that general asymptotic improvements of the zero-neighbors algorithm in the frame of gradient-like approach are impossible. We also discuss a link to secret-sharing schemes

Published in:

Information Theory, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:44 ,  Issue: 5 )