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Polar codes have gained extensive attention during the past few years and recently they have been selected for the next generation of wireless communications standards (5G). Successive-cancellation-based (SC-based) decoders, such as SC list (SCL) and SC flip (SCF), provide a reasonable error performance for polar codes at the cost of low decoding speed. Fast SC-based decoders, such as Fast-SSC, Fast-SSCL, and Fast-SSCF, identify the special constituent codes in a polar code graph off-line, produce a list of operations, store the list in memory, and feed the list to the decoder to decode the constituent codes in order efficiently, thus increasing the decoding speed. However, the list of operations is dependent on the code rate and as the rate changes, a new list is produced, making fast SC-based decoders not rate-flexible. In this paper, we propose a completely rate-flexible fast SC-based decoder by creating the list of operations directly in hardware, with low implementation complexity. We further propose a hardware architecture implementing the proposed method and show that the area occupation of the rate-flexible fast SC-based decoder in this paper is only
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