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Which codes have cycle-free Tanner graphs?

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3 Author(s)
Etzion, T. ; Dept. of Comput. Sci., Technion-Israel Inst. of Technol., Haifa, Israel ; Trachtenberg, A. ; Vardy, A.

If a linear block code C of length n has a Tanner graph without cycles, then maximum-likelihood soft-decision decoding of C can be achieved in time O(n2). However, we show that cycle-free Tanner graphs cannot support good codes. Specifically, let C be an (n,k,d) linear code of rate R=k/n that can be represented by a Tanner graph without cycles. We prove that if R⩾0.5 then d⩽2, while if R<0.5 then C is obtained from a code of rate ⩾0.5 and distance ⩽2 by simply repeating certain symbols. In the latter case, we prove that d⩽[n/k+1]+[n+1/k+1]<2/R. Furthermore, we show by means of an explicit construction that this bound is tight for all values of n and k. We also prove that binary codes which have cycle-free Tanner graphs belong to the class of graph-theoretic codes, known as cut-set codes of a graph. Finally, we discuss the asymptotics for Tanner graphs with cycles, and present a number of open problems for future research

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Information Theory, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:45 ,  Issue: 6 )