On the key equation over a commutative ring

2006-08-21T17:44:17Z (GMT) by G.H. Norton Ana Salagean
We define alternant codes over a commutative ring R and a corresponding key equation. We show that when the ring is a domain, e.g. the p-adic integers, the error–locator polynomial is the unique monic minimal polynomial (shortest linear recurrence) of the syndrome sequence and that it can be obtained by Algorithm MR of Norton. When R is a local ring, we show that the syndrome sequence may have more than one (monic) minimal polynomial, but all the minimal polynomials coincide modulo the maximal ideal of R. We characterise the minimal polynomials when R is a Hensel ring. We also apply these results to decoding alternant codes over a local ring R: it is enough to find any monic minimal polynomial over R and to find its roots in the residue field. This gives a decoding algorithm for alternant codes over a finite chain ring, which generalizes and improves a method of Interlando et. al. for BCH and Reed–Solomon codes over a Galois ring.