In a cooperative coding scheme, network nodes work together to achieve higher transmission rates. To obtain a better understanding of cooperation, we consider a model in which two transmitters send rate-limited descriptions of their messages to a "cooperation facilitator", a node that sends back rate-limited descriptions of the pair to each transmitter. This model includes the conferencing encoders model and a prior model from the current authors as special cases. We show that except for a special class of multiple access channels, the gain in sum-capacity resulting from cooperation under this model is quite large. Adding a cooperation facilitator to any such channel results in a network that does not satisfy the edge removal property. An important special case is the Gaussian multiple access channel, for which we explicitly characterize the sum-rate cooperation gain.
Parham Noorzad, M. Effros, M. Langberg