The Secret Arithmetic of Patterns: A General Method for Designing Constrained Codes Based on Lexicographic Indexing

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HAREEDY A., Dabak B., Calderbank R.

IEEE Transactions on Information Theory, 2022 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1109/tit.2022.3170692
  • Journal Name: IEEE Transactions on Information Theory
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded, Scopus, Academic Search Premier, PASCAL, Aerospace Database, Applied Science & Technology Source, Business Source Elite, Business Source Premier, Communication Abstracts, Compendex, Computer & Applied Sciences, INSPEC, MathSciNet, Metadex, zbMATH, Civil Engineering Abstracts
  • Keywords: Codes, Constrained codes, data storage, Decoding, Flash memories, general method, Indexing, isolation patterns, lexicographic indexing, lexicographic ordering, Magnetic recording, reconfigurable codes, Symbols, Systematics, two-dimensional magnetic recording


IEEEConstrained codes are used to prevent errors from occurring in various data storage and data transmission systems. They can help in increasing the storage density of magnetic storage devices, in managing the lifetime of solid-state storage devices, and in increasing the reliability of data transmission over wires. Over the years, designing practical (complexity-wise) capacity-achieving constrained codes has been an area of research gaining significant interest. We recently designed various constrained codes based on lexicographic indexing. We introduced binary symmetric lexicographically-ordered constrained (S-LOCO) codes, q-ary asymmetric LOCO (QA-LOCO) codes, and a class of two-dimensional LOCO (TD-LOCO) codes. These families of codes achieve capacity with simple encoding and decoding, and they are easy to reconfigure. We demonstrated that these codes can contribute to notable density and lifetime gains in magnetic recording (MR) and Flash systems, and they find application in other systems too. In this paper, we generalize our work on LOCO codes by presenting a systematic method that guides the code designer to build any constrained code based on lexicographic indexing once the finite set of data patterns to forbid is known. In particular, we connect the set of forbidden patterns directly to the cardinality of the LOCO code and most importantly to the rule that uncovers the index associated with a LOCO codeword. By doing that, we reveal the secret arithmetic of patterns, and make the design of such constrained codes significantly easier. We give examples illustrating the method via codes based on lexicographic indexing from the literature. We then design optimal (rate-wise) constrained codes for the new two-dimensional magnetic recording (TDMR) technology. Over a practical TDMR model, we show notable performance gains as a result of solely applying the new codes. Moreover, we show how near-optimal constrained codes for TDMR can be designed and used to further reduce complexity and error propagation. All the newly introduced LOCO codes are designed using the proposed general method, and they inherit all the desirable properties in our previously designed LOCO codes.