A Decoding Approach to Reed-Solomon Codes from Their Definition

Maria Bras-Amorós

Because of their importance in applications and their quite simple definition, Reed-Solomon codes can be explained in any introductory course on coding theory. However, decoding algorithms for Reed-Solomon codes are far from being simple and it is difficult to fit them in introductory courses for undergraduates. We introduce a new decoding approach, in a self-contained presentation, which we think may be appropriate for introducing error correction of Reed-Solomon codes to nonexperts. In particular, we interpret Reed-Solomon codes by means of the degree of the interpolation polynomial of the code words and from this derive a decoding algorithm. Compared to the classical algorithms, our algorithm appears to arise more naturally from definitions and to be easier to understand. It is related to the Peterson-Gorenstein-Zierler algorithm.

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