Scaling Exponent of List Decoders with Applications to Polar Codes
Motivated by the significant performance gains which polar codes experience when they are decoded with successive cancellation list decoders, we study how the scaling exponent changes as a function of the list size L. In particular, we fix the block error probability P-e and we analyze the tradeoff between the blocklength N and the back-off from capacity C-R using scaling laws. By means of a Divide and Intersect procedure, we provide a lower bound on the error probability under MAP decoding with list size L for any binary-input memoryless output-symmetric channel and for any class of linear codes such that their minimum distance is unbounded as the blocklength grows large. We show that, although list decoding can significantly improve the involved constants, the scaling exponent itself, i.e., the speed at which capacity is approached, stays unaffected. This result applies in particular to polar codes, since their minimum distance tends to infinity as N increases. Some considerations are also pointed out for the genie-aided successive cancellation decoder when transmission takes place over the binary erasure channel.
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Record created on 2014-06-02, modified on 2016-08-09