Journal of Signal Processing Systems

, Volume 90, Issue 5, pp 761–775 | Cite as

Low-Latency Software Polar Decoders

  • Pascal GiardEmail author
  • Gabi Sarkis
  • Camille Leroux
  • Claude Thibeault
  • Warren J. Gross


Polar codes are a new class of capacity-achieving error-correcting codes with low encoding and decoding complexity. Their low-complexity decoding algorithms rendering them attractive for use in software-defined radio applications where computational resources are limited. In this work, we present low-latency software polar decoders that exploit modern processor capabilities. We show how adapting the algorithm at various levels can lead to significant improvements in latency and throughput, yielding polar decoders that are suitable for high-performance software-defined radio applications on modern desktop processors and embedded-platform processors. These proposed decoders have an order of magnitude lower latency and memory footprint compared to state-of-the-art decoders, while maintaining comparable throughput. In addition, we present strategies and results for implementing polar decoders on graphical processing units. Finally, we show that the energy efficiency of the proposed decoders is comparable to state-of-the-art software polar decoders.


Polar codes Successive-cancellation decoding Software decoders 



The authors wish to thank Samuel Gagné of École de technologie supérieure and CMC Microsystems for providing access to the Intel Core i7-4770S processor and NVIDIA Tesla K20c graphical processing unit, respectively. Claude Thibeault is a member of ReSMiQ. Warren J. Gross is a member of ReSMiQ and SYTACom.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pascal Giard
    • 1
    Email author
  • Gabi Sarkis
    • 1
  • Camille Leroux
    • 2
  • Claude Thibeault
    • 3
  • Warren J. Gross
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Electrical and Computer EngineeringMcGill UniversityMontréalCanada
  2. 2.IMS LabBordeaux-INPBordeauxFrance
  3. 3.Department of Electrical EngineeringÉcole de Technologie SupérieureMontréalCanada

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