Block codes operate on a block of bits.Block codes are referred to as (n, k) codes. A block of k information bits are coded to become a block of n bits.

**Block Codes:**

Block
codes operate on a block of bits.Block codes are referred to as (n, k) codes. A
block of k information bits are coded to become a block of n bits. But before
we go any further with the details, let‟s look at an important concept in
coding called Hamming distance. Let‟s say that we want to code the 10 integers,
0 to 9 by a digital sequence. Sixteen unique sequences can be obtained from
four bit words. We assign the first ten of these, one to each integer. Each
integer is now identified by its own unique sequence of bits.

**Hamming Weight**: The Hamming weight of this code
scheme is the largest number of 1‟s ina valid codeword. This number is 3 among
the 10 codewords we have chosen. (the ones in the while space).

**Concept of Hamming Distance: **In
continuous variables, we measure distance by Euclidean concepts such as lengths,
angles and vectors.In the binary world, distances are measured between two
binary words by something called the Hamming distance. The Hamming distance is
the number of disagreements between two binary sequences of the same size. The
Hamming distance between sequences 001 and 101 is = 1 The Hamming distance
between sequences 0011001 and 1010100 is = 4. Hamming ** distance** and

t = dmin
–1

Where
dmin is Hamming distance of the codewords. For a code with dmin = 3, we can
both detect 1 and 2 bit errors. So we want to have a code set with as large a
Hamming distance as possible since this directly effects our ability to detect
errors. The number of errors that we can correct is given by

**Creating block codes: **The block
codes are specified by (n.k). The code takes k informationbits and computes
(n-k) parity bits from the code generator matrix. Most block codes are
systematic in that the information bits remain unchanged with parity bits
attached either to the front or to the back of the information sequence.

* Hamming
code, a simple linear block code

* Hamming
codes are most widely used linear block codes.

* A Hamming
code is generally specified as (2n- 1, 2n-n-1).

* The size
of the block is equal to 2n-1.

* The
number of information bits in the block is equal to 2n-n-1 and the number of
overhead bits is equal to n. All Hamming codes are able to detect three errors
and correct one.

**Reed-Solomon Codes: **Reed
Solomon (R-S) codes form an important sub-class of the familyof Bose-
Chaudhuri-Hocquenghem (BCH) codes and are very powerful linear non-binary block
codes capable of correcting multiple random as well as burst errors. They have
an important feature that the generator polynomial and the code symbols are
derived from the same finite field. This enables to reduce the complexity and
also the number of computations involved in their implementation. A large
number of R-S codes are available with different code rates.

An R-S
code is described by a generator polynomial g(x) and other usual important code
parameters such as the number of message symbols per block (k), number of code
symbols per block (n), maximum number of erroneous symbols (t) that can surely
be corrected per block of received symbols and the designed minimum symbol
Hamming distance (d). A parity-check polynomial h (X) of order k also plays a
role in designing the code. The symbol x, used in polynomials is an
indeterminate which usually implies unit amount of delay.

For
positive integers m and t, a primitive (n, k, t) R-S code is defined as below:
Number of encoded symbols per block: n = 2m – 1 Number of message symbols per
block: k Code rate: R= k/n Number of parity symbols per block: n – k = 2t
Minimum symbol Hamming distance per block: d = 2t +1. It can be noted that the
block length n of an (n, k, t) R-S code is bounded by the corresponding finite
field GF(2m). Moreover, as n – k = 2t, an (n, k, t) R-S code has optimum error
correcting capability.

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