Lossy joint source-channel coding in the finite blocklength regime

Victoria Kostina, Sergio Verdu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

105 Scopus citations


This paper finds new tight finite-blocklength bounds for the best achievable lossy joint source-channel code rate, and demonstrates that joint source-channel code design brings considerable performance advantage over a separate one in the nonasymptotic regime. A joint source-channel code maps a block of k source symbols onto a length-$n$ channel codeword, and the fidelity of reproduction at the receiver end is measured by the probability that the distortion exceeds a given threshold d. For memoryless sources and channels, it is demonstrated that the parameters of the best joint source-channel code must satisfy nC-kR(d) ≈ nV + k V(d) Q -1(ε), where C and V are the channel capacity and channel dispersion, respectively; R(d) and V(d) are the source rate-distortion and rate-dispersion functions; and Q is the standard Gaussian complementary cumulative distribution function. Symbol-by-symbol (uncoded) transmission is known to achieve the Shannon limit when the source and channel satisfy a certain probabilistic matching condition. In this paper, we show that even when this condition is not satisfied, symbol-by-symbol transmission is, in some cases, the best known strategy in the nonasymptotic regime.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6408177
Pages (from-to)2545-2575
Number of pages31
JournalIEEE Transactions on Information Theory
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Information Systems
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Library and Information Sciences


  • Achievability
  • Shannon theory
  • converse
  • finite blocklength regime
  • joint source-channel coding (JSCC)
  • lossy source coding
  • memoryless sources
  • rate-distortion theory


Dive into the research topics of 'Lossy joint source-channel coding in the finite blocklength regime'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this