Progressive Source-Channel Coding for Multimedia Transmission over Noisy and Lossy Channels with and without Feedback

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Chande, Vinay
Farvardin, Nariman
Rate-scalable or layered lossy source-coding is useful for progressive transmission of multimedia sources, where the receiver can reconstruct the source incrementally. This thesis considers ``joint source-channel'' schemes for such a progressive transmission, in the presence of noise or loss, with and without the use of a feedback link. First we design image communication schemes for memoryless and finite state channels using limited and explicitly constrained use of the feedback channel in the form of a variable incremental redundancy Hybrid ARQ protocol. Constraining feedback allows a direct comparison with schemes without feedback. Optimized feedback based systems are shown to have useful gains. Second, we develop a controlled Markov chain approach for constrained feedback Hybrid ARQ protocol design. The proposed methodology allows the protocol to be chosen from a collection of signal flow graphs, and also allows explicit control over the tradeoffs in throughput, reliability and complexity. Next we consider progressive image transmission in the absence of feedback. We assign unequal error protection to the bits of a rate-scalable source-coder using rate compatible channel codes. We show that, under the framework, the source and channel bits can be ``scheduled'' in a single bitstream in such a way that operational optimality is retained for different transmission budgets, creating a rate-scalable joint source-channel coder. Next we undertake the design of a joint source-channel decoder that uses ``distortion aware'' ACK/NACK feedback generation. For memoryless channels, and Type-I HARQ, the design of optimal ACK/NACK generation and decoding by packet combining is cast and solved as a sequential decision problem. We obtain dynamic programming based optimal solutions and also propose suboptimal, lower complexity distortion-aware decoders and feedback generation rules which outperform conventional BER based rules such as CRC-check. Finally we design operational rate-distortion optimal ACK/NACK feedback generation rules for transmitting a tree structured quantizer over a memoryless channel. We show that the optimal feedback generation rules are embedded, that is, they allow incremental switching to higher rates during the transmission. Also, we obtain the structure of the feedback generation rules in terms of a feedback threshold function that simplifies the implementation.