Adversarial Neural Networks for Error Correcting Codes

Hung T. Nguyen, Steven Bottone, Kwang Taik Kim, Mung Chiang, H. Vincent Poor

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Error correcting codes are a fundamental component in modern day communication systems, demanding extremely high throughput, ultra-reliability and low latency. Recent approaches using machine learning (ML) models as decoders offer both improved performance and great adaptability to unknown environments, where traditional decoders struggle. We introduce a general framework to further boost the performance and applicability of ML models. We propose to combine ML decoders with a competing discriminator network that tries to distinguish between codewords and noisy words, and, hence, guides the decoding models to recover transmitted codewords. Our framework is game-theoretic, motivated by generative adversarial networks (GANs), with the decoder and discriminator competing in a zero-sum game. The decoder learns to simultaneously decode and generate codewords while the discriminator learns to tell the difference between decoded outputs and codewords. Thus, the decoder is able to decode noisy received signals into codewords, increasing the probability of successful decoding. We show a strong connection of our framework with the optimal maximum likelihood decoder by proving that this decoder defines a Nash equilibrium point of our game. Hence, training to equilibrium has a good possibility of achieving the optimal maximum likelihood performance. Moreover, our framework does not require training labels, which are typically unavailable during communications, and, thus, seemingly can be trained online and adapt to channel dynamics. To demonstrate the performance of our framework, we combine it with recent neural decoders and show improved performance compared to the original models and traditional decoding algorithms on various codes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalProceedings - IEEE Global Communications Conference, GLOBECOM
StatePublished - 2021
Event2021 IEEE Global Communications Conference, GLOBECOM 2021 - Madrid, Spain
Duration: Dec 7 2021Dec 11 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Signal Processing


  • adversarial neural networks
  • deep unfolding
  • Error correcting codes


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