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Open Access Publications from the University of California

High-Performance and Energy-Efficient Decoder Design for Non-Binary LDPC Codes

  • Author(s): Toriyama, Yuta
  • Advisor(s): Markovic, Dejan
  • et al.

Binary Low-Density Parity-Check (LDPC) codes are a type of error correction code known to exhibit excellent error-correcting capabilities, and have increasingly been applied as the forward error correction solution in a multitude of systems and standards, such as wireless communications, wireline communications, and data storage systems. In the pursuit of codes with even higher coding gain, non-binary LDPC (NB-LDPC) codes defined over a Galois field of order q have risen as a strong replacement candidate. For codes defined with similar rate and length, NB-LDPC codes exhibit a significant coding gain improvement relative to that of their binary counterparts.

Unfortunately, NB-LDPC codes are currently limited from practical application by the immense complexity of their decoding algorithms, because the improved error-rate performance of higher field orders comes at the cost of increasing decoding algorithm complexity. Currently available ASIC implementation solutions for NB-LDPC code decoders are simultaneously low in throughput and power-hungry, leading to a low energy efficiency.

We propose several techniques at the algorithm level as well as hardware architecture level in an attempt to bring NB-LDPC codes closer to practical deployment. On the algorithm side, we propose several algorithmic modifications and analyze the corresponding hardware cost alleviation as well as impact on coding gain. We also study the quantization scheme for NB-LDPC decoders, again in the context of both the hardware and coding gain impacts, and we propose a technique that enables a good tradeoff in this space. On the hardware side, we develop a FPGA-based NB-LDPC decoder platform for architecture prototyping as well as hardware acceleration of code evaluation via error rate simulations. We also discuss the architectural techniques and innovations corresponding to our proposed algorithm for optimization of the implementation. Finally, a proof-of-concept ASIC chip is realized that integrates many of the proposed techniques. We are able to achieve a 3.7x improvement in the information throughput and 23.8x improvement in the energy efficiency over prior state-of-the-art, without sacrificing the strong error correcting capabilities of the NB-LDPC code.

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