On Multi-Channel Huffman Codes for Asymmetric-Alphabet Channels

Hoover H.F. Yin, Xishi Wang, Ka Hei Ng, Russell W.F. Lai, Lucien K.L. Ng, Jack P.K. Ma

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Zero-error single-channel source coding has been studied extensively over the past decades. Its natural multi-channel generalization is however seldom investigated. While the special case with multiple symmetric-alphabet channels was studied a decade ago, codes in such setting have no advantage over single-channel codes in data compression, making them worthless in most applications. With essentially no development since the last decade, in this paper, we break the stalemate by showing that it is possible to beat single-channel source codes in terms of compression assuming asymmetric-alphabet channels. We present the multi-channel analogs of several classical results in single-channel source coding, e.g., a multi-channel Huffman code is an optimal tree-decodable code. We also show evidences that finding an efficient construction of multi-channel Huffman codes may be hard. Nevertheless, we propose a construction whose redundancy is guaranteed to be no larger than that of an optimal single-channel source code.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2021 IEEE International Symposium on Information Theory, ISIT 2021 - Proceedings
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-5386-8209-8
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jul 2021
MoE publication typeA4 Conference publication
EventIEEE International Symposium on Information Theory - Virtual, online, Melbourne, Australia
Duration: 12 Jul 202120 Jul 2021


ConferenceIEEE International Symposium on Information Theory
Abbreviated titleISIT
Internet address


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