A matroidal framework for network-error correcting codes

Krishnan, Prasad ; Sundar Rajan, B. (2015) A matroidal framework for network-error correcting codes IEEE Transactions on Information Theory, 61 (2). pp. 836-872. ISSN 0018-9448

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Official URL: http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/6967856/

Related URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/TIT.2014.2375332


Matroidal networks were introduced by Dougherty et al. and have been well studied in the recent past. It was shown that a network has a scalar linear network coding solution if and only if it is matroidal associated with a representable matroid. A particularly interesting feature of this development is the ability to construct (scalar and vector) linearly solvable networks using certain classes of matroids. Furthermore, it was shown through the connection between network coding and matroid theory that linear network coding is not always sufficient for general network coding scenarios. The current work attempts to establish a connection between matroid theory and network-error correcting and detecting codes. In a similar vein to the theory connecting matroids and network coding, we abstract the essential aspects of linear network-error detecting codes to arrive at the definition of a matroidal error detecting network (and similarly, a matroidal error correcting network abstracting from network-error correcting codes). An acyclic network (with arbitrary sink demands) is then shown to possess a scalar linear error detecting (correcting) network code if and only if it is a matroidal error detecting (correcting) network associated with a representable matroid. Therefore, constructing such network-error correcting and detecting codes implies the construction of certain representable matroids that satisfy some special conditions, and vice versa. We then present algorithms that enable the construction of matroidal error detecting and correcting networks with a specified capability of network-error correction. Using these construction algorithms, a large class of hitherto unknown scalar linearly solvable networks with multisource, multicast, and multiple-unicast network-error correcting codes is made available for theoretical use and practical implementation, with parameters, such as number of information symbols, number of sinks, number of coding nodes, error correcting capability, and so on, being arbitrary but for computing power (for the execution of the algorithms). The complexity of the construction of these networks is shown to be comparable with the complexity of existing algorithms that design multicast scalar linear network-error correcting codes. Finally, we also show that linear network coding is not sufficient for the general network-error correction (detection) problem with arbitrary demands. In particular, for the same number of network errors, we show a network for which there is a nonlinear network-error detecting code satisfying the demands at the sinks, whereas there are no linear network-error detecting codes that do the same.

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