IEEE Trans. Inf. Theory

A generalization of the Blahut-Arimoto algorithm to finite-state channels

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The classical Blahut-Arimoto algorithm (BAA) is a well-known algorithm that optimizes a discrete memoryless source (DMS) at the input of a discrete memoryless channel (DMC) in order to maximize the mutual information between channel input and output. This paper considers the problem of optimizing finite-state machine sources (FSMSs) at the input of finite-state machine channels (FSMCs) in order to maximize the mutual information rate between channel input and output. Our main result is an algorithm that efficiently solves this problem numerically; thus, we call the proposed procedure the generalized BAA. It includes as special cases not only the classical BAA but also an algorithm that solves the problem of finding the capacity-achieving input distribution for finite-state channels with no noise. While we present theorems that characterize the local behavior of the generalized BAA, there are still open questions concerning its global behavior; these open questions are addressed by some conjectures at the end of the paper. Apart from these algorithmic issues, our results lead to insights regarding the local conditions that the information-rate-maximizing FSMSs fulfill; these observations naturally generalize the well-known Kuhn-Tucker conditions that are fulfilled by capacity-achieving DMSs at the input of DMCs. © 2008 IEEE.