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q) Turbo codes: the French revolution

q) Turbo codes: the French revolution

25.03.2019

 

In 1993, at the IEEE Int'l Conf. on Communications, some engineers working in France made an incredible claim. They reported to have invented a "turbo coding" method that could come breathtakingly close to Shannon's capacity. Their simulation curves claimed unbelievable performance, far beyond what was deemed possible. Many experts at the conference scoffed at the claims and either did not bother attending the engineers' talk or else contended that the simulations were in error. Prof. McEliece later said:

"What blew everyone away about turbo codes is not just that they get so close to Shannon capacity but that they're so easy. How could we have overlooked them? Berrou and Glavieux didn't know the problem was supposed to be hard, so they managed to find a new way to go about it."

Today, turbo codes are at the heart of lots of communication devices.

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