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Section: New Results

Rank metric codes over infinite fields

Rank metric and Gabidulin codes over the rationals promise interesting applications to space-time coding. We have constructed optimal codes, similar to Gabidulin codes, in the case of infinite fields. We use algebraic extensions, and we have determined the condition on the considered extension to enable this construction. For example: we can design codes with complex coefficients, using number fields and Galois automorphisms. Then, in the rank metric setting, codewords can be seen as matrices. In this setting, a channel introduces errors (a matrix of small rank r added to the codeword) and erasures (sr rows and sc columns of the matrix are erased). We have developed an algorithm (adapted from the Welch–Berlekamp algorithm) to recover the right codeword in the presence of an error of rank weight up to r+sc+srd-1, where d is the minimal distance of the code. As opposed to the finite field case, we are confronted by coefficient size growth. We solve this problem by computing modulo prime ideals. Using these codes we can completely bypass intermediate constructions using finite fields, which were the stumbling-block in classic constructions.

We also have used this framework to build rank-metric codes over the field of rational functions, using algebraic function fields with cyclic Galois group (Kummer and Artin extensions). These codes can be seen as a generator of infinitely many convolutional codes [25] .