# Parity-check matrix

(Redirected from Check matrix)

In coding theory, a parity-check matrix of a linear block code C is a matrix which describes the linear relations that the components of a codeword must satisfy. It can be used to decide whether a particular vector is a codeword and is also used in decoding algorithms.

## Definition

Formally, a parity check matrix, H of a linear code C is a generator matrix of the dual code, C. This means that a codeword c is in C if and only if the matrix-vector product Hc = 0 (some authors[1] would write this in an equivalent form, cH = 0.)

The rows of a parity check matrix are the coefficients of the parity check equations.[2] That is, they show how linear combinations of certain digits (components) of each codeword equal zero. For example, the parity check matrix

${\displaystyle H=\left[{\begin{array}{cccc}0&0&1&1\\1&1&0&0\end{array}}\right]}$,

compactly represents the parity check equations,

{\displaystyle {\begin{aligned}c_{3}+c_{4}&=0\\c_{1}+c_{2}&=0\end{aligned}}},

that must be satisfied for the vector ${\displaystyle (c_{1},c_{2},c_{3},c_{4})}$ to be a codeword of C.

From the definition of the parity-check matrix it directly follows the minimum distance of the code is the minimum number d such that every d - 1 columns of a parity-check matrix H are linearly independent while there exist d columns of H that are linearly dependent.

## Creating a parity check matrix

The parity check matrix for a given code can be derived from its generator matrix (and vice versa).[3] If the generator matrix for an [n,k]-code is in standard form

${\displaystyle G={\begin{bmatrix}I_{k}|P\end{bmatrix}}}$,

then the parity check matrix is given by

${\displaystyle H={\begin{bmatrix}-P^{\top }|I_{n-k}\end{bmatrix}}}$,

because

${\displaystyle GH^{\top }=P-P=0}$.

Negation is performed in the finite field Fq. Note that if the characteristic of the underlying field is 2 (i.e., 1 + 1 = 0 in that field), as in binary codes, then -P = P, so the negation is unnecessary.

For example, if a binary code has the generator matrix

${\displaystyle G=\left[{\begin{array}{cc|ccc}1&0&1&0&1\\0&1&1&1&0\\\end{array}}\right]}$,

then its parity check matrix is

${\displaystyle H=\left[{\begin{array}{cc|ccc}1&1&1&0&0\\0&1&0&1&0\\1&0&0&0&1\\\end{array}}\right]}$.

## Syndromes

For any (row) vector x of the ambient vector space, s = Hx is called the syndrome of x. The vector x is a codeword if and only if s = 0. The calculation of syndromes is the basis for the syndrome decoding algorithm.[4]