Soft-input soft-output equalizers for turbo receivers: A statistical physics perspective

Mauri Nissilä, Subbarayan Pasupathy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Many algorithms in signal processing and digital communications must deal with the problem of computing the probabilities of the hidden state variables given the observations, i.e., the inference problem, as well as with the problem of estimating the model parameters. Such an inference and estimation problem is encountered, for e.g., in adaptive turbo equalization/demodulation where soft information about the transmitted data symbols has to be inferred in the presence of the channel uncertainty, given the received signal samples and a information provided by the decoder. An exact inference algorithm computes the a probability (APP) values for all transmitted symbols, but the computation of APPs is known to be an NP-hard problem, thus, rendering this approach computationally prohibitive in most cases. In this paper, we show how many of the well-known low-complexity soft-input soft-output (SISO) equalizers, including the channel-matched filter-based linear SISO equalizers and minimum mean square error (MMSE) SISO equalizers, as well as the expectation-maximization (EM) algorithm-based SISO demodulators in the presence of the Rayleigh fading channel, can be formulated as solutions to a variational optimization problem. The variational optimization is a well-established methodology for low-complexity inference and estimation, originating from statistical physics. Importantly, the imposed variational optimization framework provides an interesting link between the APP demodulators and the linear SISO equalizers. Moreover, it provides a new set of insights into the structure and performance of these widely celebrated linear SISO equalizers while suggesting their fine tuning as well.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1300-1307
JournalIEEE Transactions on Communications
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2007
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Linear equalizers
  • Mean field inference
  • Turbo receivers
  • Variational optimization


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