Mutual-Information Optimized Quantization for LDPC Decoding of Accurately Modeled Flash Data

Jiadong Wang, Guiqiang Dong, Tong Zhang, Richard Wesel

High-capacity NAND flash memories use multi-level cells (MLCs) to store multiple bits per cell and achieve high storage densities. Higher densities cause increased raw bit error rates (BERs), which demand powerful error correcting codes. Low-density parity-check (LDPC) codes are a well-known class of capacity-approaching codes in AWGN channels. However, LDPC codes traditionally use soft information while the flash read channel provides only hard information. Low resolution soft information may be obtained by performing multiple reads per cell with distinct word-line voltages. We select the values of these word-line voltages to maximize the mutual information between the input and output of the equivalent multiple-read channel under any specified noise model. Our results show that maximum mutual-information (MMI) quantization provides better soft information for LDPC decoding given the quantization level than the constant-pdf-ratio quantization approach. We also show that adjusting the LDPC code degree distribution for the quantized setting provides a significant performance improvement.

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