On the Skew-Symmetric Binary Sequences and the Merit Factor Problem

Miroslav Dimitrov

The merit factor problem is of practical importance to manifold domains, such as digital communications engineering, radars, system modulation, system testing, information theory, physics, chemistry. However, the merit factor problem is referenced as one of the most difficult optimization problems and it was further conjectured that stochastic search procedures will not yield merit factors higher than 5 for long binary sequences (sequences with lengths greater than 200). Some useful mathematical properties related to the flip operation of the skew-symmetric binary sequences are presented in this work. By exploiting those properties, the memory complexity of state-of-the-art stochastic merit factor optimization algorithms could be reduced from $O(n^2)$ to $O(n)$. As a proof of concept, a lightweight stochastic algorithm was constructed, which can optimize pseudo-randomly generated skew-symmetric binary sequences with long lengths (up to ${10}^5+1$) to skew-symmetric binary sequences with a merit factor greater than 5. An approximation of the required time is also provided. The numerical experiments suggest that the algorithm is universal and could be applied to skew-symmetric binary sequences with arbitrary lengths.

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