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Deepcode: Feedback Codes via Deep Learning

Hyeji Kim · Yihan Jiang · Sreeram Kannan · Sewoong Oh · Pramod Viswanath

Room 210 #63

Keywords: [ Information Theory ] [ Deep Learning ]


The design of codes for communicating reliably over a statistically well defined channel is an important endeavor involving deep mathematical research and wide- ranging practical applications. In this work, we present the first family of codes obtained via deep learning, which significantly beats state-of-the-art codes designed over several decades of research. The communication channel under consideration is the Gaussian noise channel with feedback, whose study was initiated by Shannon; feedback is known theoretically to improve reliability of communication, but no practical codes that do so have ever been successfully constructed.

We break this logjam by integrating information theoretic insights harmoniously with recurrent-neural-network based encoders and decoders to create novel codes that outperform known codes by 3 orders of magnitude in reliability. We also demonstrate several desirable properties in the codes: (a) generalization to larger block lengths; (b) composability with known codes; (c) adaptation to practical constraints. This result also presents broader ramifications to coding theory: even when the channel has a clear mathematical model, deep learning methodologies, when combined with channel specific information-theoretic insights, can potentially beat state-of-the-art codes, constructed over decades of mathematical research.

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