Deepcode: Feedback Codes via Deep Learning

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 31 (NeurIPS 2018)

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


<p>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.</p> <p>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.</p>