Fountain codes are a new class of FEC codes that provide flexibility, efficiency, scalability and simplicity that goes far beyond what is possible with LDPC codes. Like fixed-rate irregular LDPC codes, fountain codes provably and practically achieve channel capacity for the binary erasure channel, and come close to achieving channel capacity for error channels such as the AWGN channel. On the other hand, fountain codes are not fixed-rate codes, and instead allow the efficient generation of as many encoding symbols as desired on the fly. Fountain codes are proving to have a wide variety of applications, including providing high quality and efficient streaming and file broadcast delivery over commercial cellular networks, enabling delivery of low latency high quality HDTV streaming over IP networks, and a variety of military applications. This talk will describe the theory and some of the commercial applicability of the most advanced form of fountain codes available today.
Michael Luby, CTO, Digital Fountain, Inc.