Learning to Decode Protograph LDPC Codes

Jincheng Dai, Kailin Tan, Zhongwei Si, Kai Niu, Mingzhe Chen, H. Vincent Poor, Shuguang Cui

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


The recent development of deep learning methods provides a new approach to optimize the belief propagation (BP) decoding of linear codes. However, the limitation of existing works is that the scale of neural networks increases rapidly with the codelength, thus they can only support short to moderate codelengths. From the point view of practicality, we propose a high-performance neural min-sum (MS) decoding method that makes full use of the lifting structure of protograph low-density parity-check (LDPC) codes. By this means, the size of the parameter array of each layer in the neural decoder only equals the number of edge-types for arbitrary codelengths. In particular, for protograph LDPC codes, the proposed neural MS decoder is constructed in a special way such that identical parameters are shared by a bundle of edges derived from the same edge-type. To reduce the complexity and overcome the vanishing gradient problem in training the proposed neural MS decoder, an iteration-by-iteration (i.e., layer-by-layer in neural networks) greedy training method is proposed. With this, the proposed neural MS decoder tends to be optimized with faster convergence, which is aligned with the early termination mechanism widely used in practice. To further enhance the generalization ability of the proposed neural MS decoder, a codelength/rate compatible training method is proposed, which randomly selects samples from a set of codes lifted from the same base code. As a theoretical performance evaluation tool, a trajectory-based extrinsic information transfer (T-EXIT) chart is developed for various decoders. Both T-EXIT and simulation results show that the optimized MS decoding can provide faster convergence and up to 1dB gain compared with the plain MS decoding and its variants with only slightly increased complexity. In addition, it can even outperform the sum-product algorithm for some short codes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9427170
Pages (from-to)1983-1999
Number of pages17
JournalIEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2021
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


  • 5G
  • Protograph LDPC codes
  • iteration-by-iteration training
  • neural min-sum decoder
  • parameter-sharing


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