Parity-check matrix

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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[edit]

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

,

compactly represents the parity check equations,

,

that must be satisfied for the vector 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[edit]

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

,

then the parity check matrix is given by

,

because

.

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

,

then its parity check matrix is

.

Syndromes[edit]

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]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ for instance, Roman 1992, p. 200
  2. ^ Roman 1992, p. 201
  3. ^ Pless 1998, p. 9
  4. ^ Pless 1998, p. 20

References[edit]