Contribution to the improvement of the decoding performance of turbo codes : algorithms and architecture

Abstract : Since their introduction in the 90’s, turbo codes are considered as one of the most powerful error-correcting code. Thanks to their excellent trade-off between computational complexity and decoding performance, they were chosen in many communication standards. One way to characterize error-correcting codes is the evolution of the bit error rate as a function of signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). The turbo code error rate performance is divided in two different regions : the waterfall region and the error floor region. In the waterfall region, a slight increase in SNR results in a significant drop in error rate. In the error floor region, the error rate performance is only slightly improved as the SNR grows. This error floor can prevent turbo codes from being used in applications with low error rates requirements. Therefore various constructions optimizations that lower the error floor of turbo codes has been proposed in recent years by scientific community. However, these approaches can not be considered for already standardized turbo codes.This thesis addresses the problem of lowering the error floor of turbo codes without allowing any modification of the digital communication chain at the transmitter side. For this purpose, the state-of-the-art post-processing decoding method for turbo codes is detailed. It appears that efficient solutions are expensive to implement due to the required multiplication of computational resources or can strongly impact the overall decoding latency. Firstly, two decoding algorithms based on the monitoring of decoder’s internal metrics are proposed. The waterfall region is enhanced by the first algorithm. However, the second one marginally lowers the error floor. Then, the study shows that in the error floor region, frames decoded by the turbo decoder are really close to the word originally transmitted. This is demonstrated by a proposition of an analytical prediction of the distribution of the number of bits in errors per erroneous frame. This prediction rests on the distance spectrum of turbo codes. Since the appearance of error floor region is due to only few bits in errors, an identification metric is proposed. This lead to the proposal of an algorithm that can correct residual errors. This algorithm, called Flip-and-Check, rests on the generation of candidate words, followed by verification according to an error-detecting code. Thanks to this decoding algorithm, the error floor of turbo codes encountered in different standards (LTE, CCSDS, DVB-RCS and DVB-RCS2) is lowered by one order of magnitude. This performance improvement is obtained without considering an important computational complexity overhead. Finally, a hardware decoding architecture implementing the Flip-and-Check algorithm is presented. A preliminary study of the impact of the different parameters of this algorithm is carried out. It leads to the definition of optimal values for some of these parameters. Others has to be adapted according to the gains targeted in terms of decoding performance. The possible integration of this algorithm along with existing turbo decoders is demonstrated thanks to this hardware architecture. This therefore enables the lowering of the error floors of standardized turbo codes.
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Thibaud Tonnellier. Contribution to the improvement of the decoding performance of turbo codes : algorithms and architecture. Electronics. Université de Bordeaux, 2017. English. ⟨NNT : 2017BORD0638⟩. ⟨tel-01580476⟩

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