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Amin Shokrollahi

EPFL and Digital Fountain, Inc.

Lausanne, Switzerland, and Fremont, USA

amin.shokrollahi@epfl.ch

Abstract We exhibit a class of universal Raptor

Codes: for a given integer k, and any real > 0, Rap-

tor Codes in this class produce a potentially innite

stream of symbols such that any subset of symbols of

size k(1 +) is sucient to recover the original k sym-

bols, with high probability. Each output symbol is

generated using O(log(1/)) operations, and the orig-

inal symbols are recovered from the collected ones

with O(k log(1/)) operations.

I. Introduction

Raptor Codes are an extension of LT-Codes [1]. The pa-

rameters of a Raptor Code of length k over a eld F are given

by a pre-code C of dimension k and block-length n over F,

and a probability distribution on F

n

. Given k source sym-

bols x1, . . . , x

k

, the pre-code rst encodes these symbols into

a codeword (y1, . . . , yn) of length n; the symbols belong to a

nite dimensional vector space over F. Each output symbol

is obtained by sampling from the distribution to obtain a

vector (v1, . . . , vn). The value of the output symbol is then

obtained as

n

i=1

viyi.

The case of primary interest is when F = F2, and is a

distribution which is constant on words of equal weight. In

this case, can be described by the numbers 1, . . . , n such

the probability of a vector x F

n

under is w/

n

w

, where

w is the Hamming weight of x. In this case, we identify with

the generating polynomial (x) =

n

i=1

ix

i

; the parameters

of the Raptor Code then become (k, C, (x)). Note that a

Raptor Code does not have a xed block-length. In applica-

tions, x1, . . . , x

k

can be packets to be sent over a computer

network. The Raptor Code can be used to produce a poten-

tially limitless stream of output symbols (i.e., packets). The

design problem in this case consists of choosing the parame-

ters of the Raptor Code in such a way that ecient decoding

is possible after reception of k(1 + ) output packets, for

arbitrarily close to zero. We call such a decoding algorithm

an algorithm overhead .

An encoding algorithm is called linear time if the pre-code

can be encoded in linear time, and the average number of op-

erations to produce an output symbol is a constant. A decod-

ing algorithm is called linear time if, after collecting a certain

number of output symbols, it can decode the k source symbols

in time O(k). We will solve the asymptotic design problem for

Raptor Codes by showing that, for any given , an appropri-

ate choice of the pre-code and the output degree distribution

will result in the Belief Propagation (BP) Decoding algorithm

to be linear time and of overhead .

II. Asymptotic Analysis

Let > 0, and let Cm be a sequence of codes of block-length n

such that the rate R of Cm is (approximately) (1 + /2)/(1 +

), and such that the BP decoder can decode Cm on a BEC

with erasure probability = (/4)/(1 + ) = (1 R)/2 with

O(nlog(1/)) arithmetic operations. Further, let D := 4(1 +

)/ and dene

D(x) =

1

+ 1

x +

D

i=2

x

i

i(i 1)

+

x

D+1

D

,

where = (/2) + (/2)

2

.

Theorem 1. Let R = (1 + /2)/(1 + ), and Cm be the

family of codes of rate R and dimension k with the proper-

ties described above. Then the Raptor code with parame-

ters (k, Cn, D(x)) has a linear time encoding algorithm, and

BP decoding is a linear time decoding of overhead for the

code. More precisely, it can be shown that the average num-

ber of operations to produce an output symbol is O(log(1/)),

and the average number of operations to recover the k source

symbols is O(k log(1/)). The theorem is proved using a com-

bination of density evolution techniques from [2] and Lubys

techniques [1].

III. Finite Length Design

We have developed ecient techniques to design Raptor Codes

of small length for which the BP decoder has provable guaran-

tees on its error performance. The design consists of a design

problem for the output degree distribution (x), and the de-

sign problem for the pre-code C. For lack of space, we will not

discuss the details of our approach, and conne ourselves to

mentioning an example only. In this example, we assume that

k > 64536. First, we encode the k source symbols using an

extended Hamming Code to produce

k symbols. The value of

k is roughly k +log

2

(k). Next, we use a random left-regular

LDPC code with

k + 1000 message symbols and 580 check

symbols in which the message symbols are all of degree 4, and

the neighbors of each message symbol are chosen randomly.

Using this code, we encode the

k symbols into

k +1000 input

symbols. This completes the description of the pre-code. For

the output degree distribution (x) we choose

(x) = 0.008x + 0.494x

2

+ 0.166x

3

+ 0.073x

4

+

0.083x

5

+ 0.056x

8

+ 0.037x

9

+ 0.056x

19

+

0.025x

65

+ 0.003x

66

.

Then we can show that the error probability of the BP decoder

on this Raptor Code is at most 1.71 10

14

. The proof of

this assertion is based on a novel analysis tool for nite length

LT Codes [3], combined with an ecient method to analyze

right-Poisson LDPC codes on the BEC.

References

[1] M. Luby, LT-codes, in Proceedings of the ACM Symposium

on Foundations of Computer Science (FOCS), 2002.

[2] M. Luby, M. Mitzenmacher, A. Shokrollahi, and D. Spielman,

Ecient erasure correcting codes, IEEE Trans. Inform. The-

ory, vol. 47, pp. 569584, 2001.

[3] R. Karp, M. Luby, and A. Shokrollahi, Finite length analysis

of LT-codes, This Proceedings, 2004.

ISIT 2004, Chicago, USA, June 27 July 2, 2004

36 0-7803-8280-3/04/$20.00 2004 IEEE

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