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Unequal error protection (UEP) codes find applications in broadcast channels, as well as in other digital communication systems, where messages have different degrees of importance. Binary linear UEP (LUEP) codes combined with a Gray mapped QPSK signal set are used to obtain new efficient QPSK block-modulation codes for unequal error protection. Several examples of QPSK modulation codes that have the same minimum squared Euclidean distance as the best QPSK modulation codes, of the same rate and length, are given. In the new constructions of QPSK block-modulation codes, even-length binary LUEP codes are used. Good even-length binary LUEP codes are obtained when shorter binary linear codes are combined using either the well-known |u¯|u¯+v¯|-construction or the so-called construction X. Both constructions have the advantage of resulting in optimal or near-optimal binary LUEP codes of short to moderate lengths, using very simple linear codes, and may be used as constituent codes in the new constructions. LUEP codes lend themselves quite naturally to multistage decoding up to their minimum distance, using the decoding of component subcodes. A new suboptimal two-stage soft-decision decoding of LUEP codes is presented and its application to QPSK block-modulation codes for UEP illustrated.


Published in IEEE Transactions on Information Theory.March 1995: 41 (2).

© 1995 IEEE. Personal use of this material is permitted. Permission from IEEE must be obtained for all other uses, in any current or future media, including reprinting/republishing this material for advertising or promotional purposes, creating new collective works, for resale or redistribution to servers or lists, or reuse of any copyrighted component of this work in other works. The definitive version is available at

At the time of publication Robert H. Morelos-Zaragoza was not yet affiliated with San Jose State University.