Spatially coupled turbo-like codes: A new trade-off between waterfall and error floor

Saeedeh Moloudi, Michael Lentmaier, Alexandre Graell I Amat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (SciVal)


Spatially coupled turbo-like codes (SC-TCs) have been shown to have excellent decoding thresholds due to the threshold saturation effect. Furthermore, even for moderate block lengths, the simulation results demonstrate a very good bit error rate performance in the waterfall region. In this paper, we discuss the effect of spatial coupling on the performance of TCs in the finite block-length regime. We investigate the effect of coupling on the error floor performance of SC-TCs by establishing conditions under which the spatial coupling either preserves or improves the minimum distance of TCs. This allows us to investigate the error floor performance of SC-TCs by performing a weight enumerator function analysis of the corresponding uncoupled ensembles. Our results demonstrate that the spatial coupling changes the design trade-off between the waterfall and error floor performance. Instead of optimizing the belief propagation (BP) threshold of uncoupled TCs, which in turn leads to a higher error floor, we can take advantage of the threshold saturation property of the SC-TCs. Choosing strong ensembles, characterized by good maximum-A-posteriori (MAP) thresholds and low error floors, the corresponding SC-TCs are then able to simultaneously approach capacity and achieve very low error floor.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8631116
Pages (from-to)3114-3123
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Transactions on Communications
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Computer Science


  • Bound on minimum distance
  • expurgated bounds
  • spatially coupled turbo-like codes
  • union bound
  • weight enumerator analysis


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