We consider the problem of stabilizing an unstable plant driven by bounded noise over a digital noisy communication link, a scenario at the heart of networked control. To stabilize such a plant, one needs real-time encoding and decoding with an error probability profile that decays exponentially with the decoding delay. The works of Schulman and Sahai over the past two decades have developed the notions of tree codes and anytime capacity, and provided the theoretical framework for studying such problems. Nonetheless, there has been little practical progress in this area due to the absence of explicit constructions of tree codes with efficient encoding and decoding algorithms. Recently, linear time-invariant tree codes were proposed to achieve the desired result under maximum-likelihood decoding. In this work, we take one more step towards practicality, by showing that these codes can be efficiently decoded using sequential decoding algorithms, up to some loss in performance (and with some practical complexity caveats). We supplement our theoretical results with numerical simulations that demonstrate the effectiveness of the decoder in a control system setting.
This work was supported in part by the National Science Foundation under grants CNS-0932428, CCF-1018927, CCF-1423663 and CCF-1409204, by a grant from Qualcomm Inc., by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory through the President and Directors Fund, and by King Abdullah University of Science and Technology.