# Erroneous decoding, probability of

One of the possible measures for characterizing the accuracy of information reproduction over a communication channel (see also Information, exactness of reproducibility of). For the transmission of information $ \xi $
from a source which has $ M $
different possible values $ 1 \dots M $
with probability distribution $ p _ {m} = {\mathsf P} \{ \xi = m \} $,
$ m = 1 \dots M $,
a certain communication channel is used. Then for fixed methods of coding and decoding (see also Information, transmission of), the probability of erroneous decoding $ P _ {e,m} $,
$ m = 1 \dots M $,
is defined by

$$ P _ {e,m} = {\mathsf P} \{ \xi \neq m \mid \xi = m \} , $$

where $ \widetilde \xi $ is the decoded message at the channel output. The variable quantity

$$ P _ {e} = {\mathsf P} \{ \widetilde \xi \neq \xi \} = \sum _ { m= } 1 ^ { M } p _ {m} P _ {e,m} $$

is called the mean probability of erroneous decoding. The study of the optimal probability of erroneous decoding, $ P _ {e} ^ { \mathop{\rm opt} } $, defined by

$$ P _ {e} ^ { \mathop{\rm opt} } = \inf P _ {e} , $$

is of particular interest. The infimum is taken over all possible methods of coding and decoding. Owing to the difficulty of obtaining an accurate expression for $ P _ {e} ^ { \mathop{\rm opt} } $, which is caused by the fact that optimal coding methods are usually unknown, the study of the asymptotic behaviour of $ P _ {e} ^ { \mathop{\rm opt} } $ when the length of the message in the channel increases is of interest. More precisely, the following situation is studied. Let a segment of length $ N $ in a communication channel with discrete time be used, and put $ R = ( \mathop{\rm ln} M)/N $. The asymptotic behaviour of $ P _ {e} ^ { \mathop{\rm opt} } $ has to be studied when $ N \rightarrow \infty $ and $ R = \textrm{ const } $( this means that the length of the message increases, while its transmission rate remains constant). If the channel is a homogeneous memoryless channel with discrete time and if the spaces $ Y $ and $ \widetilde{Y} $ of values of the components of the input and output signals are finite, then the following upper and lower bounds for $ P _ {e} ^ { \mathop{\rm opt} } = P _ {e} ^ { \mathop{\rm opt} } ( N, R) $ are known:

$$ \tag{1 } \mathop{\rm exp} \{ - N[ E _ {sp} ( R - \alpha ( N)) + \beta ( N)] \} \leq $$

$$ \leq \ P _ {e} ^ { \mathop{\rm opt} } ( N, R) \leq \mathop{\rm exp} \{ - NE _ {r} ( R) \} , $$

where $ \alpha ( N) $ and $ \beta ( N) $ tend to zero with increasing $ N $, while the functions $ E _ {r} ( R) $ and $ E _ {sp} ( R) $ are defined as follows:

$$ \tag{2 } E _ {r} ( R) = \max _ {0 \leq \rho \leq 1 } \max _ {q( \cdot ) } [ E _ {0} ( \rho , q( \cdot )) - \rho R], $$

$$ \tag{3 } E _ {sp} ( R) = \sup _ {\rho > 0 } \max _ {q( \cdot ) } [ E _ {0} ( \rho , q( \cdot )) - \rho R], $$

where

$$ E _ {0} ( \rho , q( \cdot )) = \ - \mathop{\rm ln} \sum _ {\widetilde{y} \in \widetilde{Y} } \left [ \sum _ {y \in Y } q( y) q( y, \widetilde{y} ) ^ {1/( 1+ \rho ) } \right ] ^ {1+ \rho } . $$

Here, $ q( \cdot ) = \{ {q( y) } : {y \in Y } \} $ is an arbitrary probability distribution on $ Y $, $ q( y, \widetilde{y} ) = {\mathsf P} \{ \eta _ {k} = \widetilde{y} \mid \widetilde \eta _ {k} = y \} $, $ y \in Y $, $ \widetilde{y} \in \widetilde{Y} $, while $ \eta _ {k} $ and $ \widetilde \eta _ {k} $, $ k = 1 \dots N $, are the components of the input and output signals of the memoryless channel being considered. It is known that $ E _ {r} ( R) $ and $ E _ {sp} ( R) $, defined by the formulas (2) and (3), are positive, convex from below, monotone decreasing functions of $ R $ when $ 0 \leq R < C $, where $ C $ is the transmission rate of the channel (cf. Transmission rate of a channel), and that $ E _ {r} ( R) = E _ {sp} ( R) $ when $ R \geq R _ {cr} $; here $ R _ {cr} $ is a quantity defined by the transition matrix of the channel and called the critical speed of the given memoryless channel. Thus, for values $ R $, $ R _ {cr} \leq R < C $, the main terms of the upper and lower bounds (1) for $ P _ {e} ^ { \mathop{\rm opt} } $ coincide asymptotically, hence for this range of $ R $ the exact value of the reliability function of the channel, $ E( R) $, defined by

$$ E( R) = \overline{\lim\limits}\; _ {N \rightarrow \infty } \frac{- \mathop{\rm ln} P _ {e} ^ { \mathop{\rm opt} } ( N, R) }{N} , $$

is known. For values of $ R $, $ 0 \leq R < R _ {cr} $, the exact value of $ E( R) $ for arbitrary memoryless channels is still unknown (1983), although the bounds (1) can still be improved. The exponential character of decrease of $ P _ {e} ^ { \mathop{\rm opt} } ( N, R) $ has been proved for a very broad class of channels.

#### References

[1] | R. Gallager, "Information theory and reliable communication" , 1–2 , Wiley (1968–1972) |

[2] | A.A. Feinstein, "Foundations of information theory" , McGraw-Hill (1958) |

**How to Cite This Entry:**

Erroneous decoding, probability of.

*Encyclopedia of Mathematics.*URL: http://encyclopediaofmath.org/index.php?title=Erroneous_decoding,_probability_of&oldid=46850