Collaborative Research: Advanced Coding Techniques for Next-Generation Optical Communications Grant uri icon


  • In recent years, there has been an explosion of data traffic over the internet. With the popularity of video streaming, cloud computing, and the rapid dissemination of user-generated content through social networks, there is no doubt that this trend will continue. In order to support these services, the data rates carried over optical transport networks which constitute the internet backbone has been constantly increasing and this trend is expected to continue. While 100 Giga bits per second optical transport networks are being deployed, even conservative estimates predict that data rates in next generation optical transport networks will increase to 400 Giga bits per second in 2016, 1 Tera bits per second in 2019 and 10 Tera bits per second in 2025. As the data rate increases, optical signal-to-noise ratio of the fiber-optic channel decreases substantially and the bit error-rate increases. This project considers the design and analysis of advanced error-correcting codes that mitigate transmission errors and provide reliable communication for internet traffic. The design and implementation of advanced channel coding techniques at extremely high data rates is very challenging due to hardware constraints. This is exacerbated by the fact that the desired code rates are high (e.g., greater than 0.8) and the target bit error rates are extremely low (e.g., on the order of 1e-15 or 10^{-15}). These constraints call for innovative ideas for the design of advanced channel coding techniques and cross-disciplinary interaction between researchers who focus on algorithm design and researchers who specialize in hardware implementation. The goal of this research effort is to design practical codes and decoders that provide large coding gains and can be implemented at speeds scaling to 10 Tera bits per second in the future. The transformative nature of the project lies in the fact that several novel classes of codes and computationally-efficient decoders will be designed and analyzed. Specifically, we will consider the following three topics - (i) the design and analysis of novel classes of spatially-coupled algebraic codes, symmetric product codes and spatially-coupled convolutional codes that have the potential to deliver large coding gains, (ii) the design and analysis of message-passing decoding algorithms for these codes that can achieve extremely high throughput with moderate hardware resources, and (iii) the design of codes and computationally-efficient soft-decision decoding algorithms that exploit the availability of soft information from the channel. Another important aspect of this project is the design methodology which leverages the close interaction between algorithm design and hardware implementation which will result in the implementation of codes and decoders on field programmable gate arrays. The broader impacts of this project will be maximized by the planned initiatives that aim to expand the scope of the telecommunications and signal processing and very large scale integration curricula at Texas A&M University and Duke University. It will also promote collaboration in the design, development and implementation of educational activities between Texas A&M University and Duke University.

date/time interval

  • 2016 - 2020