This paper presents a novel vector quantizer (VQ) design algorithm optimized to a burst error channel (BEC) for robust communication. The Gilbert-Elliot model is used to describe the BEC. Based on the model, the objective of this algorithm is to minimize the average distortion when the BEC is in the normal state of operation, while maintaining a minimum fidelity when the BEC is in the undesirable state. In the algorithm, an iterative design procedure is first derived for obtaining a local optimal solution to the problem. A novel genetic scheme is then proposed for attaining a near global optimal performance. Numerical results show that, when delivering information over the BEC, the algorithm significantly outperforms the VQ techniques optimizing the design only to the simple binary symmetric channels.
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