# Hamming Code - An Error-Correction code

+1 vote
1,294 views

Hamming codes are a family of linear error-correcting codes that generalize the Hamming(7,4)-code invented by Richard Hamming in 1950. Hamming codes can detect up to two-bit errors or correct one-bit errors without detection of uncorrected errors. By contrast, the simple parity code cannot correct errors, and can detect only an odd number of bits in error. Hamming codes are perfect codes, that is, they achieve the highest possible rate for codes with their block length and minimum distance.

Calculating the Hamming Code
The key to the Hamming Code is the use of extra parity bits to allow the identification of a single error.

Create the code word as follows:
1. Mark all bit positions that are powers of two as parity bits. (positions 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, etc.)
2. All other bit positions are for the data to be encoded. (positions 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, etc.)
3. Each parity bit calculates the parity for some of the bits in the code word. The position of the parity bit determines the sequence of bits that it alternately checks and skips.
Position 1: check 1 bit, skip 1 bit, check 1 bit, skip 1 bit, etc. (1,3,5,7,9,11,13,15,...)
Position 2: check 2 bits, skip 2 bits, check 2 bits, skip 2 bits, etc. (2,3,6,7,10,11,14,15,...)
Position 4: check 4 bits, skip 4 bits, check 4 bits, skip 4 bits, etc. (4,5,6,7,12,13,14,15,20,21,22,23,...)
Position 8: check 8 bits, skip 8 bits, check 8 bits, skip 8 bits, etc. (8-15,24-31,40-47,...)
Position 16: check 16 bits, skip 16 bits, check 16 bits, skip 16 bits, etc. (16-31,48-63,80-95,...)
Position 32: check 32 bits, skip 32 bits, check 32 bits, skip 32 bits, etc. (32-63,96-127,160-191,...)
etc.
4. Set a parity bit to 1 if the total number of ones in the positions it checks is odd. Set a parity bit to 0 if the total number of ones in the positions it checks is even.

``````Example:

A byte of data: 10011010
Create the data word, leaving spaces for the parity bits: _ _ 1 _ 0 0 1 _ 1 0 1 0
Calculate the parity for each parity bit (a ? represents the bit position being set):
•   Position 1 checks bits 1,3,5,7,9,11:
? _ 1 _ 0 0 1 _ 1 0 1 0. Even parity so set position 1 to a 0: 0 _ 1 _ 0 0 1 _ 1 0 1 0
•   Position 2 checks bits 2,3,6,7,10,11:
0 ? 1 _ 0 0 1 _ 1 0 1 0. Odd parity so set position 2 to a 1: 0 1 1 _ 0 0 1 _ 1 0 1 0
•   Position 4 checks bits 4,5,6,7,12:
0 1 1 ? 0 0 1 _ 1 0 1 0. Odd parity so set position 4 to a 1: 0 1 1 1 0 0 1 _ 1 0 1 0
•   Position 8 checks bits 8,9,10,11,12:
0 1 1 1 0 0 1 ? 1 0 1 0. Even parity so set position 8 to a 0: 0 1 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 0 1 0
•   Code word: 011100101010.
``````

The above example created a code word of 011100101010. Suppose the word that was received was 011100101110 instead. Then the receiver could calculate which bit was wrong and correct it. The method is to verify each check bit. Write down all the incorrect parity bits. Doing so, you will discover that parity bits 2 and 8 are incorrect.

#### References

posted Apr 7, 2014