SHIFTREGISTER SEQUENCES AND SPREADSPECTRUM COMMUNICATIONS
SOLOMON
W.GOLOMB
Keynote Address, IEEE Third International Symposium on Spread Spectrum Techniques & Applications Oiilu, Finland, July 4  6, 1994
Forty years ago, when I began to study shift reg ister sequences, digital technology was in its infancy. The most advanced electronic computers still used vacuum tubes. The integrated circuit was not even
on the horizon. In that environment, a twotap lin ear shift register of length n, producing a random looking binary bit stream of period 2”  1 was an incre~libledevice. With only twenty active delay line positions, and only two of these positions acces sible, rising no logical circuitry except a single “half adder”, a binary sequence with a period of more than one million bits could be generated! The first problem I addressed was how to pre dict the periodicity of a linear shift register from the feedback tap connections. I quickly discovered the equivalence of this question with the primitivity of the roots of the corresponding polynomials over
the field of two elements. Gradually 1 learned of the
long inathematicid history of this problem, in which roiiirection the na.mes of L. Euler (ca. 1760), E. Lo cas (ca. 1875), a.iitl 0. Ore (ca. 1933) deserve special mention.
I also noticed that these “inhwimllmleirgtlr lin
ear shift register
sequences”, named mseqlierlces by
Neal Zierler, hat1 several properties suggestive of ran doinness. Three of these, which I (lesignatetl “RI”,
“K2”,and “IL3”, were the following:
RI. In a Iiin;~.rysequeim: of period 2“  I,
therc arc 2“’ onps and 2‘11  lThe “1)alance i)roI)erty.”l
R2. In each period (of length 2” l),there
are 2”2 runs of ones alternating
runs of zeroes. Half the runs of each kind
length 1, onefourth of the runs of each
type have length 2, and in general
of the
have
I
Xl’lWb.
with 2n2
runs of each type (i.e. 2”k2 runs of each
type) have length 
k, for 1 5 k 5 
n  
2. 

In addition, there is a single run 
of 
n  
1 
zeroes, and a single run of n ones. [The
“run property.”]
R3. Compared with every nonidentical cyclic shift of itself, the sequence has 2”’  1 “agreements” and 2“’ “disagreements.” If we regard the sequence as consisting of +l’s and 1’s (instead of 0’s and l’s), then its normalized autocorrelation func tion C(r) satisfies C(T)= 1 when 7 is a multiple of the period p = 2”  1, and C(7)= l/p for all other values of r. [The “twolevel correlation property.”]
These ”randomness properties” made the m
sequences particularly useful in many applications which have subsequently been referred to as ”spread spectrum”, and more specifically “direct sequence spread spectrum.” In the last few years, in the context of digital cellular commnnications, these se quences now form the basis of code division multiple access (CDMA) technology. There are several other properties of msequences which are worth noting. One of these is:
The cycleandadd property: ‘Tf an msequence is added, termbyterm modulo 2, to any nonidentical cyclic shift of itself, the result is another cyclic shift.” This property actually chamcterizes the m
sequences. It can be restated as follows:
‘‘The 2”  1
cyclic shifts of an msequence of period p = 2“  1,
together with the sequence of 2” 1 zerues, regarded
as a set of 2” vectors of leneth 2“  1 over the field
GF(2) of two elements, form a subspace of the space of all 2P binary vectors of length p = 2“  1.” [The subspace property.] The Utwolevelcorrelation property”, IL3,follows immediately from the ”cycleandadd property” of msequences. However, the binary sequences of pe riod p (not necessarily of the form p = 2“  l) with
twolevel autocorrelation (9agreements anti
14
disagreements with all nonidentical cyclic shifts) are
a larger class, and correspond to the combinatorial
olijects called “cyclic Hatlamartl difference sets.” All known examples of cyclic Hadamard difference sets
4) where either i) p = 2” 1,n > 1,
= r(r + 2)
where r and r +2 are both primes (the twinprime examples). Over thirty years ago, with little di rect evidence, I conjectured that all cyclic Hatlamard difference sets must have periods of one of these three types. The experimental evidence for this is now quite impressive, though there is still little
theoretical basis for this conjecture. Even in the case of cyclic Hadamard difference sets with period p = 2“  1, which includes all the msequences, we do not yet know all of the inequivalent constructions which yield examples. Several member of my group (H.Y. Song; D. Rutan; etc.) at USC, as weIl as my longtime colleague Lloyd Welch, are actively inves tigating these unresolved questions concerning the existence of twolevelcorrelation sequences. The “run property”, R2, follows easily from the fact that in an msequence of period p = 2”  1, all possible subsequences of length n, except for n con secutive zeroes, occur within each period, each ex
have p I 3 (mod
ii) p = 41  1 is a prime, 1 2
1; or iii) p
a.ctly once [the “spann” property]. There ax only ~(2“ I)/n z 2”/n different Insequences of periocr 1, = 2”  I, but there are P”l’i ciilferciit spann sequences with this period, all ol~t;iinablefrom itoiz lineur shift registers of length n. (These dilfer froill the “de Bruiin seqwnces” of span 71 simply by oinit
ting a single zero from the unique run of n zeroes in t.lre dc Bruijn scquence.) In their book Cipher Systems, H. Deker and F. Piper introduce the term Gmndomness for se quences with all three properties RI,R2,ant1 R3.
It was shown I)y U. Cheng that Grandomness is insufficient to characterize msequences. (In partic
ular, there is a sequence of period p = 127 which has
Grandomness but is not an msequence.) However, the “spann” property is more restrictive than the “run property” It2,and I have long conjectured that the spann property (modified de Bruijn sequences) togcther with R3 (the twolevel correlation prop rrty) can be satisfied oiily by msequences. This conjecture lias now been verified for n 5 9 (period 1’5 29  1 = 511), but no proof is yet in sight. Shift register sequences have beeu used in both pulse and CW radar systems for several decades. The first attempt at radar contact with another planet, Venus, conducted by Lincoln La1)oratories in the late 1950’s, used pulse radar modulated by an 711seqnenca of period 213  1 = 8191. The JPL interplanetary ranging system, developed in 1959 60, used a CW signal with binary phase modulation spccificd by a long sequence obtained as a Boolean conil)ination of several shortperiod shift registcr se
quences. Incidentally, it was at JPL that we had the first successfulradar contact with Venus, on March,
IO, lSG1.
Much of the early impetus for the use of “direct se quence spread spectrum” was to make military com niunications relatively resistant to jamming. Using only msequences for this purpose assumes a very unsophisticated jammer. The “cycleandadd” prop erty enables the jammer, without even “deciphering” the sequence, to generate a forward timeshift of the
intended modulating sequence, which might be used successfully to fool the receiver. A trivial exercise in linear dnebra over GF(2), “rediscovered” in nu merous algebraic coding/decoding contexts, enables one to determine the span and the recursion of any linear sequence from a small number of its terms. To achieve more jam resistance, or any degree of resis tance to deciphering, it is necessary either to subject linear sequences to nonlinear operations, or to gen erate nonlinear sequences to begin with. To the extent that the successive bits of a shift reg ister sequence (linear or nonlinear) are sufficiently random for the application, consecutive blocks of k bits may be interpreted as kbit binary num bers which are then used to specify 2’; different fre quencies in a pseudorandom frequencyhop spread spectrum system. I am not aware of any non military motivation for employing frequency hop ping to achieve spreadspectrum communications, but there may be some tlutriirdly hostile communi cation environments for which this type of system would be appropriate. Short msequences have been employed as syn chronization patterns in a variety of applications, including such use for initial lockup in spread spec trum systems. Many other uses of shift register se quences unrelated to spread spectrum applicatious could be enumerated, but that is beyond the scope of the present paper. The commercial use of shift register sequences in CDMA cellular communications closely resetihles the “direct sequence spread spectrum” military sys tems, but the justification is different. A hostile jam mer is not assumed to be present in the cellular coin munication application. Instead, CDMA packs more calls into the same bandwidth, with a lower power level per call, than the principal alternatives which have been proposed. Other speakers at this sympo sium, however, are both better qualified and more strongly motivated financially than I to elaborate on the virtues of CDMA for cellular communications applications.
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