Implementation of the Viterbi decoding algorithm has attracted a great deal of interest in many applications, but the excessive hardware/time consumptions caused by the dynamic and backtracking decoding procedures make it difficult to design efficient VLSI circuits for practical applications. A new transform algorithm for maximum likelihood decoding is derived from trellis coding and Viterbi decoding processes. Dynamic trellis search operation are paralleled and well formulated into a set of simple matrix operations referred to as the Viterbi transform (VT). Based on the VT, the excessive memory accesses and complicated data transfer scheme demanded by the trellis search are eliminated. Efficient VLSI array implementations of the VT have been developed. Long constraint length codes can be decoded by combining the processors as the building blocks.