Capacity of a POST channel with and without feedback Academic Article uri icon


  • We consider finite state channels, where the state of the channel is its previous output. We refer to these as Previous Output is the STate (POST) channels. We first focus on POST(α) channels. These channels have binary inputs and outputs, where the state determines if the channel behaves as a Z or an S channel, both with parameter α. We show that the nonfeedback capacity of the POST(α) channel equals its feedback capacity, despite the memory of the channel. The proof of this surprising result is based on showing that the induced output distribution, when maximizing the directed information in the presence of feedback, can also be achieved by an input distribution that does not utilize the feedback. We show that this is a sufficient condition for the feedback capacity to equal the nonfeedback capacity for any finite state channel. We show that the result carries over from the POST(α) channel to a binary POST channel, where the previous output determines whether the current channel will be binary with parameters (a, b) or (b, a). Finally, we show that, in general, feedback may increase the capacity of a POST channel.

publication date

  • January 1, 2014