a1 Universidade Estadual do Rio de Janeiro, Instituto de Matemática e Estatística, RJ, Brasil; firstname.lastname@example.org
a2 Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Instituto de Matemática and NCE, Caixa Postal 2324, 20001-970, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil; email@example.com
a3 Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Instituto de Matemática, NCE and COPPE, Caixa Postal 2324, 20001-970, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil; firstname.lastname@example.org
Motivated by a problem posed by Hamming in 1980, we define even codes. They are Huffman type prefix codes with the additional property of being able to detect the occurrence of an odd number of 1-bit errors in the message. We characterize optimal even codes and describe a simple method for constructing the optimal codes. Further, we compare optimal even codes with Huffman codes for equal frequencies. We show that the maximum encoding in an optimal even code is at most two bits larger than the maximum encoding in a Huffman tree. Moreover, it is always possible to choose an optimal even code such that this difference drops to 1 bit. We compare average sizes and show that the average size of an encoding in a optimal even tree is at least 1/3 and at most 1/2 of a bit larger than that of a Huffman tree. These values represent the overhead in the encoding sizes for having the ability to detect an odd number of errors in the message. Finally, we discuss the case of arbitrary frequencies and describe some results for this situation.
(Online publication March 15 2005)
Mathematics Subject Classification: