Ubaid Ullah Fayyaz

Title: Polar Codes: An Introduction

Almost all digital communication systems and data storage devices use error-correcting codes to boost the data rate and storage capacity, respectively. Error-correcting codes achieve these high data rates and storage capacities by removing the errors occurred during communication and data write process. Apart from providing resilience against communication errors, the hardware implementations of these error-correcting systems should have high-throughput, low silicon real estate and power consumption.

Currently, low-density parity-check (LDPC) codes dominate both the communication and storage industry. However, next-generation error correcting systems require even higher throughput and even lower area and power utilization from these error-correcting systems. The hardware implementation of LDPC codes with such stringent requirements still poses a great challenge. For this reason, coding theorists have been on a continuous quest to find out codes that outperform LDPC codes in all these figures of merit.

In 2007, Arikan proposed a new coding scheme called “Polar Coding”, which has emerged as a possible competitor to LDPC codes as polar codes have low encoding and decoding complexity with comparable performance to LDPC codes. For their extremely regular structure and comparable performance to the other codes in the market, polar codes have been accepted in 5G standard for a specific control channel’s communication and is already making its way to future communication systems. However, there are still some roadblocks in the way of polar codes being the only code for these systems.

In this talk, I’ll give a brief introduction to polar codes, their state-of-the-art decoding techniques and current research problems in the area. The target audience is anyone who has taken an undergraduate digital communication course with basic introduction to coding theory.


Ubaid Ullah Fayyaz received the B.S. degree in electrical engineering from the University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore, Pakistan in 2005, and the M.S. and Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia USA, in 2012 and 2014, respectively. From 2006 to 2009, he worked at the Center for Advance Research in Engineering Islamabad, Pakistan, where he was responsible for the algorithm design and FPGA-based implementations of communication systems. His current research interests include coding theory, information theory and signal processing. He is a recipient of the William J. Fulbright, the Water and Power Development Authority Pakistan, and the National Talent scholarships.