This work investigates the limits of communication over a noisy channel that wears out, in the sense of signal-dependent catastrophic failure. In particular, we consider a channel that starts as a memoryless binary-input channel and when the number of transmitted ones causes a sufficient amount of damage, the channel ceases to convey signals. We restrict attention to constant composition codes. Since infinite blocklength codes will always wear out the channel for any finite threshold of failure and therefore convey no information, we analyze the performance of finite blocklength codes to determine the maximum expected transmission volume at a given level of average error probability. We show that this maximization problem has a recursive form and can be solved by dynamic programming. A discussion of damage state feedback in channels that wear out is also provided. Numerical results show that a sequence of block codes is preferred to a single block code for streaming sources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2017 IEEE International Symposium on Information Theory, ISIT 2017
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)9781509040964
StatePublished - Aug 9 2017
Event2017 IEEE International Symposium on Information Theory, ISIT 2017 - Aachen, Germany
Duration: Jun 25 2017Jun 30 2017

Publication series

NameIEEE International Symposium on Information Theory - Proceedings
ISSN (Print)2157-8095


Other2017 IEEE International Symposium on Information Theory, ISIT 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Information Systems
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Applied Mathematics


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