Fibre optics are critical infrastructure for society because they carry nearly all the global Internet traffic. Over the last years, we have seen an explosive increase of data rates in fibre optics. For instance, in the short-haul domain, the traffic between data centers experienced a 400% growth from 2016 to 2021. This growth is a challenge not only to the technology demands but also to energy consumption. A single state-of-the-art optical transponder can reach a total power consumption of 700W. Applying Soft-Decision Forward Error Correction (SD-FEC) decoders would be superior in such multi-gigabit per second systems, but their power consumption is up to two orders of magnitude higher than Hard-Decision Forward Error Correction (HD-FEC) decoders. However, choosing the technology with better energy efficiency comes with a cost: HD-FEC decoders entail a significant performance loss, which will prevent the use of HD-FEC decoders in ultra-high-throughput fiber optics. More broadly, such drawbacks will also make HD-FEC decoders impractical for beyond 5G mobile communications and future wireless local area network (WiFi-like) standards. In order not to increase power consumption of future high-throughput communication systems further, the error correction algorithms need to be replaced with completely new approaches.
Recently proposed hybrid FEC (HY-FEC) systems, e.g., SABM, iBDD-SR, SABM-SR, iBDD-CR, etc., tackle the challenge above by combining flavors from high-performance SD-FEC and from low-power HD-FEC [1-4]. At an algorithm level, HY-FEC is able to close the performance gap between SD-FEC and HD-FEC, but with at least one order of magnitude lower energy consumption than that of SD-FEC. Furthermore, next-generation communication systems use high-order constellations. Approximately-realized constellation shaping (SH) techniques, applied to high-order constellations, have been shown to provide higher data rates than uniform signaling approaches, with low-complexity (LC) [5-7]. Investigating the performance of LC-SH / HY-FEC combinations is the core of this project, and a corresponding FPGA implementation is the key objective of this position.
 Y. Lei, B. Chen, G. Liga, X. Deng, Z. Cao, J. Li, K. Xu and A. Alvarado, ``Improved Decoding of Staircase Codes: The Soft-Aided Bit-Marking (SABM) Algorithm,’’ in IEEE Trans. on Commun., vol. 67, no. 12, pp. 8220-8232, Dec. 2019.
 G. Liga, A. Sheikh and A. Alvarado, ``A novel soft-aided bit-marking decoder for product codes,’’ in Proc. Eur. Conf. Opt. Commun., Dublin, Ireland, 2019.
 A. Sheikh, A. Graell i Amat, G. Liva and A. Alvarado, ``Refined Reliability Combining for Binary Message Passing Decoding of Product Codes,’’ May 2020.
 A. Sheikh, A. Graell i Amat and A. Alvarado, ``Novel High-Throughput Decoding Algorithms for Product and Staircase Codes based onError-and-Erasure Decoding,’’ Aug. 2020.
 Y. C. Gültekin, F. M. J. Willems, W. J. van Houtum, and S. Şerbetli, ``Approximate enumerative sphere shaping,’’ in Proc. IEEE Int. Symp. Inf. Theory, Vail, CO, USA, Jun. 2018, pp. 676–680.
 Y. C. Gültekin, W. J. van Houtum, A. Koppelaar, and F. M. J. Willems, ``Partial enumerative sphere shaping,’’ in Proc. IEEE Veh. Technol. Conf. (Fall), Honolulu, HI, USA, Sep. 2019.
 Y. C. Gültekin, W. J. van Houtum, A. G. C. Koppelaar, and F. M. J. Willems, ``Low-complexity enumerative coding techniques with applications to amplitude shaping,’’ IEEE Commun. Lett., Sep. 2020.
Academic and Research Environment
Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) is one of Europe’s top technological universities, situated in the heart of one of Europe’s largest high-tech innovation ecosystems. Research at TU/e is characterized by a combination of academic excellence and a strong real-world impact. This impact is often obtained via close collaboration with high-tech industries.
This exciting research will be carried out at the signal processing systems (SPS) group, in particular, in the Information and Communication Theory Lab (ICT Lab), which is a world-leading group on the topic of information and communication theory. Our research in the topic of fiber optics is also carried out in close collaboration with the electro-optical communications (ECO) group, as well as with industrial partners both groups collaborate with.
For more details see:
We are hiring 1 postdoctoral research for up to 1.5 years. The candidate must have PhD degree in information and/or communications theory, signal processing, or computer science. A strong background on FPGA programming is highly desirable. Affinity with physical layer (including channel coding and/or constellations shaping) is beneficial, but not mandatory.
The position will include international short- and medium-term research visits to academic and/or industrial research institutions as well as the possibility of co-supervising multiple BSc, MSc, and PhD students in the ICT Lab.
The candidate should be able bridge the distance between communication-theoretic concepts and hardware implementation. They should be able to think out of the box, provide structure to their work, have excellent multidisciplinary team working and communication skills, and be fluent in English.
Do you recognize yourself in this profile and would you like to know more? Please contact Dr. Alex Alvarado: A.Alvarado[at]tue.nl.
For information about terms of employment, please contact our HR department: hrservices.flux[at]tue.nl
Please visit www.tue.nl/jobs to find out more about working at TU/e!
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