From Event: SPIE Optical Engineering + Applications, 2016
The main problem for information reconciliation in continuous variable Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) at low Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR) is quantization and assignment of labels to the samples of the Gaussian Random Variables (RVs) observed at Alice and Bob. Trouble is that most of the samples, assuming that the Gaussian variable is zero mean which is de-facto the case, tend to have small magnitudes and are easily disturbed by noise. Transmission over longer and longer distances increases the losses corresponding to a lower effective SNR exasperating the problem. This paper looks at the quantization problem of the Gaussian samples at very low SNR regime from an information theoretic point of view. We look at the problem of two bit per sample quantization of the Gaussian RVs at Alice and Bob and derive expressions for the mutual information between the bit strings as a result of this quantization. The quantization threshold for the Most Significant Bit (MSB) should be chosen based on the maximization of the mutual information between the quantized bit strings. Furthermore, while the LSB string at Alice and Bob are balanced in a sense that their entropy is close to maximum, this is not the case for the second most significant bit even under optimal threshold. We show that with two bit quantization at SNR of -3 dB we achieve 75.8% of maximal achievable mutual information between Alice and Bob, hence, as the number of quantization bits increases beyond 2-bits, the number of additional useful bits that can be extracted for secret key generation decreases rapidly. Furthermore, the error rates between the bit strings at Alice and Bob at the same significant bit level are rather high demanding very powerful error correcting codes. While our calculations and simulation shows that the mutual information between the LSB at Alice and Bob is 0.1044 bits, that at the MSB level is only 0.035 bits. Hence, it is only by looking at the bits jointly that we are able to achieve a mutual information of 0.2217 bits which is 75.8% of maximum achievable. The implication is that only by coding both MSB and LSB jointly can we hope to get close to this 75.8% limit. Hence, non-binary codes are essential to achieve acceptable performance.
Fred Daneshgaran and Marina Mondin, "Quantization of Gaussian samples at very low SNR regime in continuous variable QKD applications," Proc. SPIE 9980, Quantum Communications and Quantum Imaging XIV, 99800Q (Presented at SPIE Optical Engineering + Applications: August 29, 2016; Published: 13 September 2016); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2238264.
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