Introduction to coding theory

Coding theory is the study of error correcting codes, the purpose of which are to add redundancy into data to increase robustness against errors. These codes are applied almost anywhere data is stored or transmitted, such as within CDs or on the servers used by Google / Facebook / Netflix; even QR codes are an example of an error correcting code.

Algebraic codes in particular oftentimes have good parameters. In the 1960s, Reed and Solomon proposed codes over general finite fields \(\mathbb{F}_q := \mathbb{F}_{p^n}\), where \(p\) is prime. Though this was thought at the time to be of little interest because the codes are nonbinary, they later found their first application on board the Voyagers 1 and 2, and were crucial to the formation of CD technology.


Relevant links

My research

My research primarily involves the Hermitian curve

\[ x^{q+1} = y^q + y \]

which is the unique maximal curve over \(\mathbb{F}_{q^2}\). A natural extension of the Hermitian curve are the norm-trace curves. These are defined over \(\mathbb{F}_{q^r}\) by

\[ x^{\frac{q^r-1}{q-1}} = y^{q^{r-1}} + … + y^q + y \]

we can see that the Hermitian curve is recovered when \(r=2\). The contexts where these curves appear are detailed below.

  • The Hermitian-lifted codes of Lopez, Malmskog, Matthews, Pinero-Gonzalez, and Wootters are based on the Hermitian curve over \(\mathbb{F}_{q^2}\).

    • The more general norm-trace curves can be used in this construction. Norm-trace-lifted codes over binary fields compare well to the Hermitian-lifted codes, having better asymptotic rate, and an explicit basis for the set of evaluation functions.

  • The fractional decoding algorithm of Reed Solomon codes given by Santos draws connections between collaborative decoding of Reed Solomon codes and fractional decoding. In conjunction with Matthews and Santos, I look at how this connection yields a procedure for fractional decoding of codes from the Hermitian curve.

    • The decoding procedure given for codes from the Hermitian curve doesn't utilize the full structure of the Hermitian curve. The procedures can be greatly improved, and allow for extension to another class of codes, the Hermitian-lifted and norm-trace-lifted codes.

General Thoughts

Another topic that catches my attention is the presence of the field trace

\[ \text{tr}_{\mathbb{F}_{q^\ell} / \mathbb{F}_q}(\alpha) = \underset{j=1}{\overset{\ell-1}{\sum}} \alpha^{q^j} \]

both in the repair scheme of Guruswami and Wootters and fractional decoding algorithms, where each exploit the fact that \(\text{tr}_{\mathbb{F}_{q^\ell} / \mathbb{F}_q}(\alpha) \in \mathbb{F}_q\) for any \(\alpha \in \mathbb{F}_{q^\ell}\). In what other instances can either this property, or similar properties, be utilized to decode with less-than-classical amounts of information?

Government contracting

Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory

  • Defensive Cyber Initiatives, January 2023-
    Technical Lead, August 2023-
    Description: Explored non-mathematical approaches to metrology, with a focus of improving understanding of resilience of cyberphysical systems.

  • Cryptography, April 2023-
    Description: Securing the access of healthcare information through the development of modern cryptographic protocols into software.

  • Unmanned Maritime Systems, January 2023-May 2024
    Description: Improved systems engineering processes with respect to security and autonomy of naval capabilities.

  • Applied Quantum Communications, May 2023-January 2024
    Description: Worked on leveraging internal APL quantum channel models in tandem with modern quantum error correction methods.

  • Cyber Anomaly Detection, February 2023-December 2023
    Description: Collaborated on formation of anomaly detection framework for military platform electronics buses, with an aim for near-future integration.