On a turbo decoder design for low power dissipation

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Virginia Tech

A new coding scheme called "turbo coding" has generated tremendous interest in channel coding of digital communication systems due to its high error correcting capability. Two key innovations in turbo coding are parallel concatenated encoding and iterative decoding. A soft-in soft-out component decoder can be implemented using the maximum a posteriori (MAP) or the maximum likelihood (ML) decoding algorithm. While the MAP algorithm offers better performance than the ML algorithm, the computation is complex and not suitable for hardware implementation. The log-MAP algorithm, which performs necessary computations in the logarithm domain, greatly reduces hardware complexity. With the proliferation of the battery powered devices, power dissipation, along with speed and area, is a major concern in VLSI design. In this thesis, we investigated a low-power design of a turbo decoder based on the log-MAP algorithm. Our turbo decoder has two component log-MAP decoders, which perform the decoding process alternatively. Two major ideas for low-power design are employment of a variable number of iterations during the decoding process and shutdown of inactive component decoders. The number of iterations during decoding is determined dynamically according to the channel condition to save power. When a component decoder is inactive, the clocks and spurious inputs to the decoder are blocked to reduce power dissipation. We followed the standard cell design approach to design the proposed turbo decoder. The decoder was described in VHDL, and then synthesized to measure the performance of the circuit in area, speed and power. Our decoder achieves good performance in terms of bit error rate. The two proposed methods significantly reduce power dissipation and energy consumption.

Branch metric, State metric, Low power, Synopsys, Log-likelihood ratio, Log-MAP, Turbo decoder