On the Hamming distance of linear codes over a finite chain ring

2006-08-21T17:44:55Z (GMT) by G.H. Norton Ana Salagean
Let R be a finite chain ring (e.g. a Galois ring), K its residue field and C a linear code over R. We prove that d(C), the Hamming distance of C, is d((C : α)), where (C : α) is a submodule quotient, α is a certain element of R and — denotes the canonical projection to K. These two codes also have the same set of minimal codeword supports. We explicitly construct a generator matrix/polynomial of (C : α) from the generator matrix/polynomials of C. We show that in general d(C) ≤ d(C) with equality for free codes (i.e. for free R- submodules of Rn) and in particular for Hensel lifts of cyclic codes over K. Most of the codes over rings described in the literature fall into this class. We characterise MDS codes over R and prove several analogues of properties of MDS codes over finite fields. We compute the Hamming weight enumerator of a free MDS code over R.