Sparsifying Parity-Check Matrices

Parity check matrices (PCMs) are used to define linear error correcting codes and ensure reliable information transmission over noisy channels. The set of codewords of such a code is the null space of this binary matrix. We consider the problem of minimizing the number of one-entries in parity-check matrices. In the maximum-likelihood (ML) decoding method, the number of ones in PCMs is directly related to the time required to decode messages. We propose a simple matrix row manipulation heuristic which alters the PCM, but not the code itself. We apply simulated annealing and greedy local searches to obtain PCMs with a small number of one entries quickly, i.e. in a couple of minutes or hours when using mainstream hardware. The resulting matrices provide faster ML decoding procedures, especially for large codes.

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