Information-theoretic foundations of mismatched decoding

Jonathan Scarlett, Albert Guillén Fàbregas, Anelia Somekh-Baruch, Alfonso Martinez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Shannon's channel coding theorem characterizes the maximal rate of information that can be reliably transmitted over a communication channel when optimal encoding and decoding strategies are used. In many scenarios, however, practical considerations such as channel uncertainty and implementation constraints rule out the use of an optimal decoder. The mismatched decoding problem addresses such scenarios by considering the case that the decoder cannot be optimized, but is instead fixed as part of the problem statement. This problem is not only of direct interest in its own right, but also has close connections with other long-standing theoretical problems in information theory. In this monograph, we survey both classical literature and recent developments on the mismatched decoding problem, with an emphasis on achievable random-coding rates for memoryless channels. We present two widely-considered achievable rates known as the generalized mutual information (GMI) and the LM rate, and overview their derivations and properties. In addition, we survey several improved rates via multi-user coding techniques, as well as recent developments and challenges in establishing upper bounds on the mismatch capacity, and an analogous mismatched encoding problem in rate-distortion theory. Throughout the monograph, we highlight a variety of applications and connections with other prominent information theory problems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-400
Number of pages252
JournalFoundations and Trends in Communications and Information Theory
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - 31 Aug 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Applied Mathematics


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