Variable-rate channel capacity

Sergio Verdú, Shlomo Shamai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


This paper introduces the notions of variable-to-fixed and fixed-to-variable channel capacity, without feedback. For channels that satisfy the strong converse, these notions coincide with the conventional Shannon capacity. For channels that do not behave ergodically, the conventional fixed-rate Shannon capacity only depends on least-favorable channel conditions, while the variable-rate capacity notions are able to capture the whole range of channel states and their likelihood, even in the absence of any side information about channel state at the transmitter. Particular emphasis is placed on memoryless channels that are governed by finitely valued states. We show that (single-user) variable-to-fixed channel capacity is intimately connected to the capacity region of broadcast channels with degraded message sets, and we give an expression for the fixed-to-variable capacity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2046220
Pages (from-to)2651-2667
Number of pages17
JournalIEEE Transactions on Information Theory
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


  • Bayesian modeling
  • Broadcast channels with degraded message sets
  • Channel capacity
  • Fixed-to-variable coding
  • Fountain codes
  • Nonergodic channels
  • Shannon theory
  • State-dependent channels
  • Variable-to-fixed coding


Dive into the research topics of 'Variable-rate channel capacity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this