chapter  9
16 Pages

The Reed–Muller family of codes

ByJohn Baylis

Many technical innovations are the result of combining desirable features of two or more gadgets to produce a composite object with even more desirable features. A natural question in coding theory is whether two good codes can be combined in some way to produce a better one. One such combination was invented by Plotkin and published in 1960. It can be used to describe the Reed–Muller codes, one of which was used in the NASA space explorations from 1969 to 1976, in particular to transmit the Mariner 9 pictures of Mars in January 1972.