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Published July 2011 | Submitted
Book Section - Chapter Open

Nonuniform Codes for Correcting Asymmetric Errors


Codes that correct asymmetric errors have important applications in storage systems, including optical disks and Read Only Memories. The construction of asymmetric error correcting codes is a topic that was studied extensively, however, the existing approach for code construction assumes that every codeword could sustain t asymmetric errors. Our main observation is that in contrast to symmetric errors, where the error probability of a codeword is context independent (since the error probability for 1s and 0s is identical), asymmetric errors are context dependent. For example, the all-1 codeword has a higher error probability than the all-0 codeword (since the only errors are 1 → 0). We call the existing codes uniform codes while we focus on the notion of nonuniform codes, namely, codes whose codewords can tolerate different numbers of asymmetric errors depending on their Hamming weights. The goal of nonuniform codes is to guarantee the reliability of every codeword, which is important in data storage to retrieve whatever one wrote in. We prove an almost explicit upper bound on the size of nonuniform asymmetric error correcting codes and present two general constructions. We also study the rate of nonuniform codes compared to uniform codes and show that there is a potential performance gain.

Additional Information

© 2011 IEEE. Date of Current Version: 03 October 2011. This work was supported in part by the NSF CAREER Award CCF-0747415, the NSF grant ECCS-0802107, and by an NSF-NRI award.

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