Error-correcting multi-stage code generator and decoder for communication systems having single transmitters or multiple transmitters

A communications system includes an encoder that produces a plurality of redundant symbols. For a given key, an output symbol is generated from a combined set of symbols including the input symbols and the redundant symbols. The output symbols are generally independent of each other, and an effectively unbounded number of output symbols can be generated, if needed. Received output symbols can provide probabilistic information for error correction. A decoder calculates check symbols from the output symbols received. For each received output symbol, the decoder updates a running total of estimated information content and, in one or more rounds, generates a probability distribution for each input symbol over all or some of possible values. This process may be repeated until, for all of the input symbols, one of the many possible values is much more probable than others, or the process may be repeated a predetermined number of rounds, or other criteria is met.


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