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DeepSHARQ: Hybrid Error Coding using Deep Learning


Cyber-physical systems operate under changing environments and on resource-constrained devices. Communication in these environments must use hybrid error coding, as pure pro- or reactive schemes cannot always fulfill application demands or have suboptimal performance. However, finding optimal coding configurations that fulfill application constraints—e.g., tolerate loss and delay—under changing channel conditions is a computationally challenging task. Recently, the systems community has started addressing these sorts of problems using hybrid decomposed solutions, i.e., algorithmic approaches for well-understood formalized parts of the problem and learning-based approaches for parts that must be estimated (either for reasons of uncertainty or computational intractability). For DeepSHARQ, we revisit our own recent work and limit the learning problem to block length prediction, the major contributor to inference time (and its variation) when searching for hybrid error coding configurations. The remaining parameters are found algorithmically, and hence we make individual contributions with respect to finding close-to-optimal coding configurations in both of these areas—combining them into a hybrid solution. DeepSHARQ applies block length regularization in order to reduce the neural networks in comparison to purely learning-based solutions. The hybrid solution is nearly optimal concerning the channel efficiency of coding configurations it generates, as it is trained so deviations from the optimum are upper bound by a configurable percentage. In addition, DeepSHARQ is capable of reacting to channel changes in real time, thereby enabling cyber-physical systems even on resource-constrained platforms. Tightly integrating algorithmic and learning-based approaches allows DeepSHARQ to react to channel changes faster and with a more predictable time than solutions that rely only on either of the two approaches.