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New Achievement in Interactive Code for Error Correction

Category: Science & Technology
Posted: 05:19PM

When using computers and mobile devices, most people probably do not realize just how much is involved with making sure the data they send and receive is accurate. Behind every transmission, especially wireless ones, error-correcting code (ECC) is employed to prevent errors, but current algorithms are not exactly ideal. Researchers at and from MIT will soon be presenting work on a new interactive coding scheme that could solve the problems.

Classical ECC has worked well for years and has the useful property that it works better as the size of a transmission increases. The algorithms are not well suited for shorter transmissions though, such as those used with distributed computing. For these transmissions a new system is needed and for twenty years researchers have been working on interactive code schemes that should do the trick. Like ECC, interactive code is evaluated on how much noise it can tolerate, the maximum transmission rate, and how long the encoding and decoding processes take. The MIT researchers' work is the first that is optimal in all three criteria.

Traditionally ECC works by adding extra bits to the transmission that describe the message, to reveal errors in the message, and then by going back and forth between the message and extra bits, the correct message can be discovered. This new system cuts that process short by building lists of what the message might be, and then exchanging them. As a device will always know what its message said, it is possible for the two devices to determine what the optimal decoding approach is. This way the scheme can tolerate a quarter of the data being altered and its processing time is linearly related to the length of the message. Now work still needs to be done to further optimize the scheme, but this is still a great step towards a new error correction system.

Source: MIT

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