Tail-biting trellises of block codes: Trellis complexity and viterbi decision complexity

Ilan Reuven*, Yair Be'ery

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Tail-biting trellises of linear and nonlinear block codes are addressed. We refine the information-theoretic approach of a previous work on conventional trellis representation, and show that the same ideas carry over to tail-biting trellises. We present lower bounds on the state and branch complexity profiles of these representations. These bounds are expressed in terms of mutual information between different portions of the code, and they introduce the notions of superstates and superbranches. For linear block codes, our bounds imply that the total number of superstates, and respectively superbranches, of a tail-biting trellis of the code cannot be smaller than the total number of states, and respectively branches, of the corresponding minimal conventional trellis, though the total number of states and branches of a tail-biting trellis is usually smaller than that of the conventional trellis. We also develop some improved lower bounds on the state complexity of a tail-biting trellis for two classes of codes: the first-order Reed-Muller codes and cyclic codes. We show that the superstates and superbranches determine the Viterbi Decision complexity of a tail-biting trellis. Thus, the computational complexity of the maximum-likelihood Decision of linear block codes on a tail-biting trellis, using the Viterbi algorithm, is not smaller than that of the conventional trellis of the code. However, tail-biting trellises are beneficial for suboptimal and iterative Decision techniques.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2043-2051
Number of pages9
JournalIEICE Transactions on Fundamentals of Electronics, Communications and Computer Sciences
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1999


  • Maximum-likelihood decision
  • Mutual information
  • Tail-biting trellis
  • Trellises
  • Viterbi algorithm


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