In this paper, a vector-form factor graph representation is derived for intersymbol interference (ISI) channels. The resultant graphs have a tree-structure that avoids the short cycle problem in existing graph approaches. Based on a joint Gaussian approximation, we establish a connection between the LLR (log-likelihood ratio) estimator for a linear system driven by binary inputs and the LMMSE (linear minimum mean-square error) estimator for a linear system driven by Gaussian inputs. This connection facilitates the application of the recently proposed Gaussian message passing technique to the cycle-free graphs for ISI channels. We also show the equivalence between the proposed approach and the Wang-Poor approach based on the LMMSE principle. An attractive advantage of the proposed approach is its intrinsic parallel structure. Simulation results are provided to demonstrate this property. © 2008 IEEE.