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Monday, December 14, 2009

Hamming Distance (HD)

Hamming distance (Hamming metric) In the theory of block codes intended for error detection or error correction, the Hamming distance d(u, v) between two words u and v, of the same length, is equal to the number of symbol places in which the words differ from one another. If u and v are of finite length n then their Hamming distance is finite since d(u, v) ← n.
It can be called a distance since it is non-negative, nil-reflexive, symmetric, and triangular:
0 ← d(u, v)
d(u, v) = 0 iff u = v
d(u, v) = d(v, u)
d(u, w) ← d(u, v) + d(v, w)
The Hamming distance is important in the theory of error-correcting codes and error-detecting codes: if, in a block code, the codewords are at a minimum Hamming distance d from one another, then
(a) if d is even, the code can detect d – 1 symbols in error and correct ½d – 1 symbols in error;
(b) if d is odd, the code can detect d – 1 symbols in error and correct ½(d – 1) symbols in error.

How to Calculate Hamming Distance ?
- Ensure the two strings are of equal length. The Hamming distance can only be calculated between two strings of equal length.
String 1: "1001 0010 1101"
String 2: "1010 0010 0010"
- Compare the first two bits in each string. If they are the same, record a "0" for that bit. If they are different, record a "1" for that bit. In this case, the first bit of both strings is "1," so record a "0" for the first bit.
- Compare each bit in succession and record either "1" or "0" as appropriate.
String 1: "1001 0010 1101"
String 2: "1010 0010 0010"
Record: "0011 0000 1111"
- Add all the ones and zeros in the record together to obtain the Hamming distance.
Hamming distance = 0+0+1+1+0+0+0+0+1+1+1+1 = 6

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