Abstract
The speed at which two remote parties can exchange secret keys in continuousvariable quantum key distribution (CVQKD) is currently limited by the computational complexity of key reconciliation. Multidimensional reconciliation using multiedge lowdensity paritycheck (LDPC) codes with low code rates and long block lengths has been shown to improve errorcorrection performance and extend the maximum reconciliation distance. We introduce a quasicyclic code construction for multiedge codes that is highly suitable for hardwareaccelerated decoding on a graphics processing unit (GPU). When combined with an 8dimensional reconciliation scheme, our LDPC decoder achieves an information throughput of 7.16 Kbit/s on a single NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 GPU, at a maximum distance of 142 km with a secret key rate of 6.64 × 10^{−8} bits/pulse for a rate 0.02 code with block length of 10^{6} bits. The LDPC codes presented in this work can be used to extend the previous maximum CVQKD distance of 100 km to 142 km, while delivering up to 3.50× higher information throughput over the tight upper bound on secret key rate for a lossy channel.
Introduction
Quantum key distribution (QKD), also referred to as quantum cryptography, offers unconditional security between two remote parties that employ onetime pad encryption to encrypt and decrypt messages using a symmetric secret key, even in the presence of an eavesdropper with infinite computing power and mathematical genius.^{1,2,3,4} The security of QKD stems from the nocloning theorem of quantum mechanics.^{5,6,7} Unlike classical cryptography, quantum cryptography allows the two remote parties, Alice and Bob, to detect the presence of an eavesdropper, Eve, while also providing security against brute force, key distillation attacks that may be enabled through quantum computing.^{8} Today’s public key exchange schemes such as DiffieHellman and encryption algorithms like RSA, respectively, rely on the computational hardness of solving the discrete log problem and prime factorization.^{9,10} Both of these problems, however, can be solved in polynomial time by applying Shor’s algorithm on a quantum computer.^{11,12,13} Future threats may also arise from the discovery of a new classical algorithm capable of solving such cryptography problems in polynomial time on a classical Turing machine.
While such threats remain speculative, QKD systems have already been realized in several commercial and research settings worldwide.^{14,15,16,17} There are two protocols for generating a symmetric key over a quantum channel: (1) discretevariable QKD (DVQKD) where Alice encodes her information in the polarization of singlephoton states that she sends to Bob, and (2) continuousvariable QKD (CVQKD) where Alice encodes her information in the amplitude and phase quadratures of coherent states.^{4,18} In DVQKD, Bob uses a singlephoton detector to measure each received quantum state, while in CVQKD, Bob uses homodyne or heterodyne detection techniques to measure the quadratures of light.^{4,19,20,21} While DVQKD has been experimentally demonstrated up to 404 km,^{22} cryogenic temperatures are required for singlephoton detection at such distances.^{4} CVQKD systems can be implemented using costeffective detectors that are routinely deployed in classical telecommunications equipment that operates at room temperature.^{4,18} Recently, the unidimensional CVQKD protocol was experimentally demonstrated up to 50 km,^{23} where Alice modulates only one quadrature (e.g., amplitude) instead of two, to reduce cost and complexity, with the tradeoff of lower secret key rate and higher sensitivity to channel excess noise.^{24} Both CVQKD and DVQKD protocols are comprised of four steps: (1) quantum transmission over a private quantum channel, (2) sifting of measured quantum states, (3) reconciliation over an authenticated classical public channel that is assumed to be noiseless, and (4) privacy amplification via hashing.^{2,5,6} The majority of QKD research focuses on applications over optical fiber, since quantum signals for both CVQKD and DVQKD can be multiplexed over classical telecommunications traffic in existing fiber optical networks.^{25,26}
The motivation of this work is to address the two key challenges that remain in the practical implementation of CVQKD over optical fiber: (1) to extend the distance of secure communication beyond 100 km with protection against collective Gaussian attacks,^{27,28,29,30} and (2) to increase the computational throughput of the key reconciliation (error correction) algorithm in the postprocessing step such that the maximum achievable secret key rate remains limited only by the fundamental physical parameters of the optical equipment at long distances.^{6,7,31,32} There are two limitations to the speed of key reconciliation. The first is the secret key rate, which is fundamentally limited by the transmittance and excess noise on the lossy optical channel, and is measured in bits/pulse.^{33} The second is the rate of computational throughput from the hardware implementation, measured in bits/second.^{31} To compare the two rates, we normalize the secret key rate to bits/second by choosing a realistic CVQKD pulse sampling rate of f_{rep} = 1 MHz.^{7,34} While secure QKD networks can be built using intermediate trusted nodes, or through measurementdeviceindependent QKD (MDIQKD) with untrusted relay nodes,^{35,36,37} the longdistance reconciliation problem is motivated by the following two reasons: (1) each intermediate node introduces additional vulnerability, and (2) implementing efficient quantum repeaters remains a challenge.^{3,4,22} Jouguet and KunzJacques showed that Megabit/s oneway forward error correction using multiedge lowdensity paritycheck (LDPC) codes is achievable for distances up to 80 km,^{31} while Huang et al. showed that the distance could be extended to 100 km by controlling excess noise.^{38} Twoway interactive errorcorrection protocols such as Cascade or Winnow are not practical for longdistance QKD due to their large latency and communication overhead.^{39,40,41,42} Here we explore highspeed LDPC decoding for oneway reconciliation in CVQKD beyond 100 km.
A particular challenge in designing errorcorrecting codes for such long distances is the low signaltonoise ratio (SNR) of the optical quantum channel, which typically operates below −15 dB. At such low SNR, highefficiency key reconciliation can be achieved only using lowrate block codes with large block lengths on the order of 10^{6} bits,^{43,44,45,46} where approximately 98% of the bits are redundant parity bits that must be discarded after errorcorrection decoding. The reconciliation efficiency is defined as β = R_{code}/C(s), where \(C(s)\) = \(0.5 {\mathrm{log}}_2(1 + s)\) is the Shannon limit at a particular SNR s, and R_{code} = k/n is the code rate of a linear block code where (n − k) redundant parity bits are concatenated with k information bits to form an encoded block of n bits.^{47,48,49} In order to maximize the secret key rate and reconciliation distance, the errorcorrecting code must achieve a high βefficiency and high errorcorrection performance with low frame error rate (FER). The direction of reconciliation between Alice and Bob also impacts the maximum secret key rate and reconciliation distance. In direct reconciliation, the direction of communication in both the quantum and classical channel is from Alice to Bob. However, the distance with direct reconciliation is limited to about 15 km.^{50,51,52} The reverse reconciliation scheme achieves a higher secret key rate at longer distances by reversing the direction of communication in the classical channel from Bob to Alice.^{7,44,53}
Jouguet et al. previously explored multiedge LDPC codes for longdistance reverse reconciliation due to their high efficiency and nearShannon limit performance with lowrate codes. However, such codes require hundreds of LDPC decoding iterations to achieve asymptotic errorcorrection performance.^{7,31,53,54} This is in contrast to LDPC codes employed in the IEEE 802.11ac (WiFi) standard, where the SNR is above 0 dB, the block length is 648 bits, and the LDPC decoder typically operates at 10 iterations to deliver Gigabit/s decoding throughput.^{55,56,57} At low SNR, a CVQKD system with a Gaussian input and Gaussian channel can be approximated as a Binary Input Additive White Gaussian Noise Channel (BIAWGNC), where binary LDPC codes can be used in conjunction with multidimensional reconciliation schemes to further improve errorcorrection performance and increase distance.^{7,44,45,48,53} However, the computational complexity and latency of decoding random LDPC paritycheck matrices with block lengths on the order of 10^{6} bits remains a challenge.
We introduce a quasicyclic code construction for multiedge LDPC codes with block lengths of 10^{6} bits to simplify decoder design and increase throughput.^{54,58} Computational acceleration is achieved through an optimized LDPC decoder design implemented on a stateoftheart graphics processing unit (GPU), which provides floatingpoint computational precision and highbandwidth onchip memory. GPUs are a lowcost platform that is highly suitable for highthroughput decoding of long blocklength codes, as opposed to applicationspecific integrated circuits (ASICs) or fieldprogrammable gate arrays (FPGAs), which suffer from limited memory, fixedpoint computational precision, highly complex routing, and silicon area constraints.^{59,60,61} The LDPC codes presented in this work can be used to extend the previous maximum CVQKD distance of 100 km to 142 km, while delivering up to 3.50× higher decoded information throughput over the tight upper bound on the secret key rate for a lossy channel.^{33} Here we show that LDPC decoding is no longer the computational bottleneck in longdistance CVQKD, and that the secret key rate remains limited only by the physical parameters of the quantum channel.
Results
Quasicyclic multiedge LDPC codes
We extend the design of lowrate, multiedge LDPC codes by applying a quasicyclic (QC) construction technique.^{58,62} QC codes impose a highlyregular paritycheck matrix structure with a sufficient degree of randomness in order to achieve nearShannon limit errorcorrection performance, while reducing decoder implementation complexity.^{58} QC codes are defined by a paritycheck matrix constructed from an array of q × q cyclicallyshifted identity matrices or q × q zero matrices.^{58} The tilings evenly divide the (n − k) × n paritycheck matrix into n/q QC macrocolumns and (n − k)/q QC macrorows. The expansion factor q in a QC matrix determines the tradeoff between decoder implementation complexity and errorcorrection performance. Our goal is to construct QC codes that achieve comparable FER performance to a random code with the same degree distribution, but with lower decoding latency to maximize throughput.
We constructed five QCLDPC codes with expansion factors q ∈ {21, 50, 100, 500, 1000} based on the R_{code} = 0.02 multiedge degree distribution previously designed by Jouguet et al. for CVQKD reverse reconciliation on the BIAWGNC.^{7,53} For performance comparison, we also constructed a nonQC multiedge random code with the same degree distribution. Under Sum–Product decoding, the errorcorrection performance of the q ∈ {100, 500, 1000} QC codes was significantly worse than the random code. Thus, only the q = 21 and q = 50 QC codes are presented here. Table 1 summarizes the code parameters. In order to maintain the same degree distributions, the block length of the q = 21 QC code was adjusted to n = 1.008 × 10^{6} bits, and the code rate of the q = 50 QC code was adjusted to R_{code} = 0.01995.
Our multiedge LDPC codes achieve similar errorcorrection performance on the BIAWGNC compared to those developed by Jouguet et al. with multidimensional reconciliation.^{53} Figure 1 presents the FER versus SNR errorcorrection performance under softdecision Sum–Product decoding for the d = 1 and d = 8 reconciliation dimensions.^{63} Both QC codes outperform the random code in the high βefficiency region at low SNR. The q = 50 QC code achieves the best overall FER performance over d = 1, 2, 4, 8 dimensions, due to its slightly lower code rate. The q = 21 QC code also performs better than the random code over all dimensions, due to its longer block length. With d = 8 dimensional reconciliation, at SNR = 0.0283, which corresponds to a reconciliation efficiency of β = 0.99, the q = 21 and q = 50 QC codes achieve 1.92% and 6.57% lower FER than the nonQC random code, respectively.
The errorcorrection performance beyond the waterfall region is not of practical interest for longdistance CVQKD since the codes are intended to operate with a high FER at low SNR with high βefficiency in order to maximize the secret key rate and distance. While not shown in Fig. 1, the d = 2 and d = 4 reconciliation schemes achieve approximately 0.04 dB and 0.08 dB coding gain, respectively, over the d = 1 scheme in the waterfall region for all three codes. Thus, higher reconciliation schemes extend code performance to lower SNR where the FER > 0 and β → 1.
Secret key rate and distance
Accounting for finitesize effects, the secret key rate for a CVQKD system with oneway reverse reconciliation is given by
where N_{privacy} bits comprise the privacy amplification block, N_{quantum} is the number of sifted symbols after quantum transmission and measurement, P_{e} is the reconciliation FER, I_{AB} is the mutual information between Alice and Bob, χ_{BE} is the Holevo bound on the information leaked to Eve, and Δ(N_{privacy}) is the finitesize offset factor.^{6,64}
For each fixedrate LDPC code, there exists a unique FERβ pair, where each β corresponds to a particular SNR operating point in each FERSNR curve shown in Fig. 1. The FER and efficiency β are positively correlated, such that there exists an optimal tradeoff between β and FER where K_{finite} is maximized for a fixed transmission distance. To achieve key reconciliation at long distances, the operating point must be chosen in the waterfall region of the FERSNR curve where β is high, despite the high FER where P_{ e } → 1.
Key reconciliation for a particular βefficiency is only achievable over a limited range of distances where K_{finite} > 0. When β is high, the FER P_{e} → 1, and thus K_{finite} → 0 as erroneous frames are discarded after decoding. As a result, the maximum reconciliation distance is limited by the errorcorrection performance of the LDPC code. In general, for a single FERβ pair, LDPC decoding can achieve either (1) a high secret key rate at short distance, or (2) a low secret key rate at long distance. For longdistance CVQKD beyond 100 km, key reconciliation is only achievable with high βefficiency at the expense of low secret key rate.
Figures 2 and 3 present the finite secret key rate results for the three LDPC codes over the distance range of interest with N_{privacy} = 10^{12} bits based on the d = 1 and d = 8 reconciliation dimensions, respectively. The quantum channel was characterized using previously published experimental results and parameters.^{7,38,64} Here we assume the standard loss of a singlemode fiber optical cable to be α = 0.2 dB/km, with a transmittance of \(T = 10^{  \alpha \ell /10}\), where the distance \(\ell\) is expressed in kilometers. The excess channel noise (measured in shot noise units) is chosen to be constant \(\epsilon\) = 0.01 for 0 ≤ \(\ell\) ≤ 100 km, and monotonically increasing as \(\epsilon\) = 0.01 + 0.001\((\ell  100)\) for 100 km < \(\ell\) ≤ 170 km.^{38} Bob’s homodyne detector efficiency is chosen to be η = 0.606, with an added electronic noise of V_{el} = 0.041 (measured in shot noise units).^{7} In Eq. (1), we arbitrarily choose N_{quantum} = 2N_{privacy} and a conservative security parameter of 10^{−10} for Δ(N_{privacy}).^{64} For each curve in Figures 2 and 3, Alice’s modulation variance V_{A} (measured in shot noise units) is calculated at each distance point \(\ell\), assuming a fixed code rate R_{code}, such that the β efficiency, SNR, and FER remain constant over the entire distance range where K_{finite} > 0. Here, \(V_{\mathrm{A}}(\ell ,\beta )\) = \(s(\beta )(1 + \chi _{\mathrm{total}}(\ell ))\), where the SNR is given by \(s(\beta )\) = \(2^{2R_{{\mathrm{code}}}{\mathrm{/}}\beta }  1\), and χ_{total}\((\ell )\) is the total noise added between Alice and Bob.^{6}
The three LDPC codes achieve similar finite secret key rates and reconciliation distances with both d = 1 and d = 8 schemes for β ≤ 0.92, since the codes are operating close to their respective error floors. However, for β > 0.92, the FER becomes a limiting factor to achieving a nonzero secret key rate. The d = 1 scheme achieves a maximum efficiency of β = 0.96, where the maximum distance is limited to 122 km. For β > 0.96, the FER P_{e} = 1, thus K_{finite} = 0. The d = 8 scheme operates up to β = 0.99 efficiency, with a maximum distance of 142 km. The d = 8 scheme achieves higher secret key rates for all three LDPC codes at β = 0.95 and β = 0.96 in comparison to the d = 1 scheme since the code FER performance is higher. The d = 2 and d = 4 schemes both achieve a maximum efficiency of β = 0.97 at 127 km. While not shown here, the maximum reconciliation distance with N_{privacy} = 10^{10} bits is only 128 km for β = 0.99 under d = 8 dimensional reconciliation. Thus, the reconciliation distance is also largely dependent on the privacy amplification block size.
GPUAccelerated Decoding
We implemented a multithreaded Sum–Product LDPC decoder on a single NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 GPU using the NVIDIA CUDA C++ application programming interface. The operations of the Sum–Product algorithm were reordered to avoid uncoalesced memory writes and to maximize the amount of threadlevel parallelism for arithmetic computations.
A quasicyclic matrix structure reduces data permutation and memory access complexity by eliminating random, unordered memory access patterns. QC codes require fewer memory lookups for message passing since the paritycheck matrix can be described with approximately qtimes fewer terms, where q is the expansion factor of the QC paritycheck matrix, in comparison to a random matrix for the same block length. Table 2 presents the latency of one decoding iteration for the three codes, and also highlights their respective errorcorrection performance and GPU throughput at the maximum β = 0.99 efficiency with d = 8 reconciliation. The raw GPU throughput (including parity bits) is given by
and the average information throughput of the GPU decoder is given by
The latency per iteration depends on the LDPC code structure and the number of memory lookups, while the FER is bound by the maximum number of iterations.
Table 3 compares the performance of the random and QC codes at the maximum achievable distance for each reconciliation dimension. The QC codes achieve approximately 3× higher raw decoding throughput \(K_{{\mathrm{GPU}}}^{{\mathrm{raw}}}\) over the random code with d = 1, 2, 4, 8 dimensional reconciliation at the maximum distance point for each βefficiency. When scaled by the FER and code rate, the QC codes achieve between 1.6× and 12.8× higher information throughput \(K_{{\mathrm{GPU}}}^\prime\) over the random code.
Pirandola et al. recently showed that there exists a tight upper bound on the secret key rate for a lossy channel.^{33} For a fiberoptic channel, this limit is determined by the transmittance T and is given by
The upper bound versus distance is plotted in Fig. 4, along with the GPUdecoded information throughput for the q = 21 QC code under d = 8 dimensional reconciliation. Figure 4 illustrates that the decoded information throughput \(K_{{\mathrm{GPU}}}^\prime\) of the reconciliation algorithm is higher than the upper bound on secret key rate \(K_{{\mathrm{lim}}}^\prime\) on a lossy channel with a 1 MHz source at each maximum distance point from β = 0.8 to β = 0.99. Table 3 presents the finite secret key rate \(K_{{\mathrm{finite}}}^\prime\) and the upper bound on secret key rate \(K_{{\mathrm{lim}}}^\prime\) for a lossy channel for each maximum distance point. Both K_{lim} and K_{finite} are scaled by the light source repetition rate f_{rep}, such that \(K_{{\mathrm{lim}}}^\prime\) = f_{rep}K_{lim} and \(K_{{\mathrm{finite}}}^\prime\) = f_{rep}K_{finite}, where a realistic CVQKD repetition rate of f_{rep} = 1 MHz is assumed.^{7,34,51}
The rightmost column in Table 3 (\(K_{{\mathrm{GPU}}}^\prime {\mathrm{/}}K_{{\mathrm{lim}}}^\prime\)) presents the two key results of this work. First, it shows that the GPU decoder can achieve between 2.05× and 3.50× higher information throughput \(K_{{\mathrm{GPU}}}^\prime\) over the upper bound on secret key rate \(K_{{\mathrm{lim}}}^\prime\) with a 1 MHz source using QCLDPC codes with d = 8 dimensional reconciliation only. This maximum 3.50× speedup is highlighted in Fig. 4 at 142 km with β = 0.99. The second result is that d = 1, d = 2, and d = 4 dimensional reconciliation schemes are not wellsuited for longdistance CVQKD since the \(K_{{\mathrm{GPU}}}^\prime\) speedup over \(K_{{\mathrm{lim}}}^\prime\) is less than 1×. In general, Table 3 shows that QC codes achieve lower decoding latency than the random code at long distances, thereby making them more suitable for reverse reconciliation at high β efficiencies. Since the decoder delivers an information throughput higher than the upper bound on secret key rate, we conclude that LDPC decoding is no longer the postprocessing bottleneck in CVQKD, and thus, the secret key rate remains limited only by the physical parameters of the quantum channel.
The results presented in Table 3 and Fig. 4 assumed a light source repetition rate of f_{rep} = 1 MHz. While a higher source repetition rate such as f_{rep} = 100 MHz would raise the upper bound on secret key rate \(K_{{\mathrm{lim}}}^\prime\) above the maximum GPU decoder throughput \(K_{{\mathrm{GPU}}}^\prime\), it would still not introduce a postprocessing bottleneck for CVQKD. The GPU decoder currently delivers an information throughput \(K_{{\mathrm{GPU}}}^\prime\) between 5286× and 135,000× higher than the finite secret key rate \(K_{{\mathrm{finite}}}^\prime\) with a 1 MHz light source at the maximum distance points for d = 1, 2, 4, 8 dimensional reconciliation schemes. Even with a source repetition rate of f_{rep} = 1 GHz, the GPU information throughput \(K_{{\mathrm{GPU}}}^\prime\) would still exceed the operating secret key rate \(K_{{\mathrm{finite}}}^\prime\) between 5.3× and 13.5× for distances beyond 122 km, assuming the same quantum channel parameters. Further computational speedup can be achieved by concurrently decoding multiple frames using multiple GPUs.
Figure 5 compares the LDPC decoding throughput versus distance for several GPUbased CVQKD and DVQKD implementations, illustrating that highthroughput reconciliation at long distances is achievable only using large blocklength codes that approach the Shannon limit with >90% efficiency for CVQKD or <10% quantum bit error rate (QBER) for DVQKD. This work achieves the longest reconciliation distance compared to the previously published works.
At the time of writing, there has not been any reported investigation of the construction of QC codes for multiedge LDPC codes targeting lowSNR channels below −15 dB for longdistance CVQKD. Previous DVQKD implementations used QCLDPC codes with block lengths of 10^{3} bits from the IEEE 802.11ac (WiFi) standard,^{55} however, these works did not achieve reconciliation beyond 50 km.^{65,66} Bai et al. recently showed that rate R_{code} = 0.12 QC codes with block lengths of 10^{6} bits can be constructed using progressive edge growth techniques, or by applying a QC extension to random LDPC codes with block lengths of 10^{5} bits, however, the reported QC codes target an SNR of only −1 dB,^{67} and are thus not suitable for longdistance CVQKD beyond 100 km.
At the time of writing, there is only one reported decoder implementation designed to operate in the lowSNR regime for longdistance CVQKD reconciliation.^{31} Jouguet and KunzJacques reported a GPUbased LDPC decoder that achieves 7.1 Mb/s throughput at SNR = 0.161 (β = 0.93) on the BIAWGNC,^{31} for a random multiedge LDPC code with a block length of 2^{20} bits and R_{code} = 1/10.^{54} For throughput comparison purposes, we designed two additional multiedge codes with the same code rate, block length, and SNR threshold:^{54} a random code and a q = 512 QC code.
Table 4 presents a performance comparison between our two designed R_{code} = 1/10 codes and the result achieved by Jouguet and KunzJacques.^{31} Our q = 512 QC code achieves 1.29× higher throughput than the 7.1 Mb/s reported by Jouguet and KunzJacques,^{31} further demonstrating that the QC code structure offers computational speedup benefits for multiedge codes operating in the high βefficiency region at low SNR. Both GPU models have a similar memory bus width, which is the primary constraint that limits the latency per iteration. Here, GPU decoder performance is bound by the memory access rate, and not the floatingpoint operations per second (FLOPS). A wider GPU memory allows for a higher memory access rate, which reduces decoding latency.
GPUs continue to deliver higher computational performance with each successive architecture generation. We present here the potential LDPC decoding speedup improvement using the latest NVIDIA TITAN V GPU (released in December 2017), in comparison to our results achieved on a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 GPU (released in May 2016). The NVIDIA TITAN V delivers 110 TeraFLOPS with 5210 cores and a 652 GB/s memory bandwidth, which is a 2× improvement in both the number of computational cores and memory bandwidth over our NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080. Since our GPUbased decoder is memory bound, we ignore the improvement in FLOPS, and consider only the increase in memory bandwidth and number of cores. We estimate that our LDPC decoder would achieve 4× higher throughput on the latest NVIDIA TIVAN V GPU. At the maximum distance of 142 km with β = 0.99 and d = 8 reconciliation, using our q = 21 QCLDPC code on an NVIDIA TITAN V GPU, we estimate that our decoder would achieve a raw throughput \(K_{{\mathrm{GPU}}}^{{\mathrm{raw}}}\) of 6.90 Mb/s, and an information throughput \(K_{{\mathrm{GPU}}}^\prime\) of 28.6 Kb/s, which is 14× higher than the tight upper bound on the secret key rate with a 1 MHz light source.
Discussion
We introduced quasicyclic multiedge LDPC codes to accelerate longdistance reconciliation in CVQKD by means of a GPUbased decoder implementation and multidimensional reconciliation schemes. Other errorcorrecting codes have also been studied for the lowSNR regime of CVQKD, including polar codes, repeataccumulate codes, and Raptor codes.^{31,68,69} However, at the time of writing, there are no hardware implementations of such codes for longdistance CVQKD beyond 100 km. In addition to extending information theoretic security to general attacks for finite key sizes,^{30,70,71,72} a major remaining hurdle to extending the distance in CVQKD is reducing excess noise in the optical channel.^{38} Future work might also investigate the security of CVQKD and LDPC decoding performance with nonGaussian noise. GPUbased decoder implementations with QC codes would provide a suitable platform for such investigations. Furthermore, QC codes and GPU decoding can also be applied in DVQKD, where reconciliation is performed on the binary symmetric channel.
In this work, we showed that the first postprocessing step (reconciliation) can achieve 3.50× higher information throughput than the upper bound on secret key rate up to 142 km at a speed of 7.16 Kb/s, using rate R_{code} = 0.02 LDPC codes with block lengths of n = 10^{6} bits. To achieve this 142 km distance with security against finitesize effects, we assumed that the second postprocessing step (privacy amplification) is performed using a block length of N_{privacy} = 10^{12} bits. While the speed of privacy amplification has recently been demonstrated up to 100 Mb/s for a block length of N_{privacy} = 10^{8} bits,^{73} the maximum achievable distance with N_{privacy} = 10^{8} bits is limited to 88 km with β = 0.99 and d = 8 reconciliation (assuming the same channel parameters as in this work). For CVQKD beyond 100 km, privacy amplification block lengths of N_{privacy} ≥ 10^{10} bits are required. Toeplitz hashing methods can be employed to achieve high computational parallelism for block lengths on the order of N_{privacy} = 10^{12} bits.^{74} Such implementations should achieve a minimum throughput on the order of 10 Kb/s such that the complete postprocessing chain (reconciliation and privacy amplification) maintains a higher throughput than the upper bound on secret key rate.
The LDPC codes and reconciliation techniques presented in this work can be applied to two areas that show promise for QKD: (1) freespace QKD using lowEarth orbit satellites to extend the distance of secure communication beyond 200 km without fiberoptic infrastructure,^{75,76} and (2) fullyintegrated monolithic QKD chip implementations that combine optical and postprocessing circuits.^{4,77,78} While GPUs integrate seamlessly into postprocessing computer systems and provide a lowcost platform for design exploration, their high power consumption (on the order of 200 W per card) may present QKD system scaling limitations. A singlechip solution would accelerate the adoption of QKD in modern network infrastructure with lower cost, power, and integration complexity.
Methods
Multidimensional reverse reconciliation
Following the quantum transmission and sifting steps, Alice and Bob, respectively, share correlated Gaussian sequences, X and Y, of length n, where n is equivalent to the LDPC code block length and n ≤ N_{privacy} ≤ N_{quantum}.^{5,6,7} The BIAWGNC is induced from the physical parameters of the quantum channel, and is assumed to have zero mean and noise variance \(\sigma _Z^2\), \(Z \sim {\cal N}\left( {0,\sigma _Z^2} \right)\).^{53} At each distance \(\ell\), the SNR is given by \(s = 1{\mathrm{/}}\sigma _Z^2\) = \(V_{\mathrm{A}}(\ell )\)/\((1 + \chi _{{\mathrm{total}}}(\ell ))\). It follows then that \(X \sim {\cal N}(0,1)\), \(Y \sim {\cal N}\left( {0,1 + \sigma _Z^2} \right)\), and Y = X + Z.^{53}
In reverse reconciliation, Bob generates a uniformlydistributed random binary sequence S of length k, and performs a computationally inexpensive LDPC encoding operation to generate a codeword C of length n, where C_{ i } ∈ {0, 1}, based on a binary LDPC paritycheck matrix H that is also known to Alice. Bob then transmits his classical message M to Alice, where \(M_i = (  1)^{C_i}Y_i\) for i = 1, 2, …, n.^{6}
Longdistance reverse reconciliation can be achieved with multidimensional reconciliation schemes where the multiplication and division operators are defined.^{44,45} Normed division is only defined for four finitedimensional algebras: the real numbers \({\Bbb R}\) \(\left( {{\Bbb R}^{d = 1}} \right)\), the complex numbers \({\Bbb C}\) \(\left( {{\Bbb R}^{d = 2}} \right)\), the quaternions \({\Bbb H}\) \(\left( {{\Bbb R}^{d = 4}} \right)\), and the octonions \({\Bbb O}\) \(\left( {{\Bbb R}^{d = 8}} \right)\).^{79} Hence, here we consider only the d = 1, 2, 4, 8 dimensions. Assuming errorfree transmission of M over the classical channel, Alice attempts to recover Bob’s codeword C using her sequence X as follows:
Here, R, M, U, X, Y, and Z are ddimensional vectors. Alice observes a BIAWGNC described by R = U + N, where U is comprised of \((  1)^{C_i}\) components, and the multidimensional noise is given by N = (UZX^{*})/\(\left\ {\bf{X}} \right\^2\).^{53} For d = 1, Alice observes a channel with binary input \(U_i = (  1)^{C_i}\) and additive noise \(N_i = (  1)^{C_i}Z_i{\mathrm{/}}X_i\). For d = 2, U = \(\left[ {(  1)^{C_{2i}},(  1)^{C_{2i  1}}} \right]\), and for d = 4, U = \(\left[ {(  1)^{C_{4i  3}},(  1)^{C_{4i  2}}} \right.\), \(\left. {(  1)^{C_{4i  1}},(  1)^{C_{4i}}} \right]\). The CayleyDickson construction can be applied to derive the multidimensional noise N for d = 2, 4, 8.^{80} Since the noise is identically distributed in each dimension, C can be assumed to be the allzero codeword, i.e., C_{ i } = 0 for all i = 1, 2, …, n to simplify the derivation.
For ddimensional reconciliation, each consecutive group of d quantum coherentstate transmissions has the same channel noise variance. For d = 1, each R_{ i } has a unique channel noise variance defined by \(\sigma _{Ni}^2 = \sigma _Z^2{\mathrm{/}}\left {X_i} \right^2\) for i = 1, 2, …, n. For d = 2, reconciliation is performed over successive (R_{2i−1}, R_{2i}) pairs: (R_{1}, R_{2}),(R_{3}, R_{4}), …, (R_{n−1}, R_{ n }), which are constructed from the quadrature transmission of successive (M_{2i−1}, M_{2i}) pairs for i = 1, 2, …, n/2. Here, R_{2i−1} = \((  1)^{C_{2i  1}} + N_{2i  1}\) and R_{2i} = \((  1)^{C_{2i}} + N_{2i}\) for i = 1, 2, …, n/2. While the real and imaginary noise components, \(N_{2i  1}\) and N_{2i}, are not equal, the variance of the channel noise is uniform over both dimensions, such that \(\sigma _{N(2i  1)}^2\) = \(\sigma _{N(2i)}^2\) for each (R_{2i−1}, R_{2i}) pair. For d = 4 and d = 8, each dtuple of successive R_{ i } values has a unique channel noise for each dimensional component, but the channel noise variance remains uniform over all d dimensions.
Alice performs LDPC decoding using the shared paritycheck matrix H, and her computed softdecision value R_{ i } and channel noise variance \(\sigma _{Ni}^2\) for each i = 1, 2, …, n via the computationally expensive Sum–Product algorithm to build an estimate \(\widehat {\bf{S}}\) of Bob’s sequence S. LDPC decoding is successful if \(\widehat {\bf{S}} = {\bf{S}}\), whereas a frame error is said to have occurred when \(\widehat {\bf{S}} \ne {\bf{S}}\).
Frame error rate with undetected errors
The number of possible codewords for any binary linear block code is \(2^k = 2^{nR_{{\mathrm{code}}}}\). Here, with n = 10^{6} bits and R_{code} = 0.02, the number of possible valid codewords is approximately 4 × 10^{6020}. As such, it is possible for the decoder to converge to a valid codeword where the decoded message is incorrect, i.e., the parity check passes but \(\widehat {\bf{S}} \ne {\bf{S}}\). In coding theory, this is referred to as an undetected error. To detect such errors, a cyclic redundancy check (CRC) of Bob’s original message S can be transmitted as part of the frame, and then verified against the computed CRC of Alice’s decoded message \(\widehat {\bf{S}}\). If the CRC results of S and \(\widehat {\bf{S}}\) are equal, the decoding is successful and \(\widehat {\bf{S}}\) can be used to distill a secret key. The probability of detecting an error is given by P_{detected error} = P(Parity Fail) + P(Parity Pass ∩ CRC Fail). A truly undetected error occurs when both the parity check and CRC pass, but \(\widehat {\bf{S}} \ne {\bf{S}}\). Both detected and undetected errors contribute to the FER, hence the probability of frame error is defined as P_{e} = P_{detected error} + P_{undetected error}. We found that a 32bit CRC code was sufficient to detect all invalid decoded messages without sacrificing information throughput. Thus, the FER is reduced to P_{ e } = P_{detected error} since P_{undetected error} = 0.
Constructing quasicyclic multiedge LDPC codes
An equivalent definition of a code’s binary paritycheck matrix H is given by its Tanner graph \({\cal G}\), which contains two independent vertex sets known as check nodes (CNs) and variable nodes (VNs) that correspond to the rows and columns of H, respectively.^{81} An edge between CN c_{ i } and VN v_{ j } belongs to \({\cal G}\) if H(i, j) = 1. An LDPC code of length n can be specified by the number of variable and check nodes, and their respective degree distributions. The number of edges connected to a vertex in \({\cal G}\) is called the degree of the vertex. The degree distribution of \({\cal G}\) is a pair of polynomials \(\omega (x) = \mathop {\sum}\nolimits_i {\kern 1pt} \omega _ix^i\) and \(\psi (x) = \mathop {\sum}\nolimits_i {\kern 1pt} \psi _ix^i\), which, respectively, denote the number of variable and check nodes of degree i in \({\cal G}\). As n → ∞, the errorcorrection performance of Tanner graphs with the same degree distribution is nearly identical.^{82} Hence, the variable and check node degree distributions can be normalized to Ω(x) = \(\mathop {\sum}\nolimits_i {\kern 1pt} (\omega _i{\mathrm{/}}n)x^i\) and Ψ(x) = \(\mathop {\sum}\nolimits_i {\kern 1pt} (\psi _i{\mathrm{/}}(n  k))x^i\), respectively. To design a binary LDPC code, first find the normalized degree distribution pair (Ω(x), Ψ(x)) of rate R_{code} with the best performance. Then, if n is large, randomly sample a Tanner graph \({\cal G}\) that satisfies the degree distribution defined by ω(x) and ψ(x) (up to rounding error) to construct H.
In a standard LDPC code, the degree distributions are limited to a single edge type, such that all variable and check nodes are statistically interchangeable. Multiedge codes extend the degree distributions to multiple edge types with an additional edgetype matching condition.^{54} The design and construction of multiedge LDPC codes is described by Richardson and Urbanke.^{54}
The R_{code} = 0.02 multiedge LDPC codes in this work have the following normalized degree distribution:
This distribution was designed by Jouguet et al. by modifying a rate 1/10 multiedge degree structure.^{53,54} We generated random paritycheck matrices by randomly sampling Tanner graphs that satisfied the multiedge degree distribution defined by ω(x) and ψ(x), and the edgetype matching condition. The random sampling technique does not degrade code performance since the target FER is known to be high (P_{e} ≈ 10^{−1}), and the error floor is not a concern.^{83}
To design a quasicyclic multiedge code, repeat the random sampling process using n/q as the block length instead of n to obtain a base Tanner graph \({\cal G}_B\). The base matrix H_{ B } is obtained from \({\cal G}_B\) by populating each nonzero entry by a random element of the set {1, 2, …, q}. Let I_{ i } be the circulant permutation submatrix obtained by cyclically shifting each row of the q × q identity matrix to the right by i − 1. The QC matrix H is obtained from H_{ B } by replacing each nonzero entry of value i by I_{ i }, and each zero entry by the q × q allzeros submatrix.
Quantum channel capacity vs. channel coding capacity
Here we examine two definitions of channel capacity in the context of CVQKD: (1) the capacity of the quantum channel, and (2) the capacity of the channel coding problem. The first capacity is related to the complete QKD system, which has an AWGN channel characterized by the optical quantum losses and modulation variance. The second capacity is related to the reconciliation step, i.e., the channel coding problem presented in Eq. (5). In this paper, we considered the key reconciliation problem as a single problem, however, for clarity, it should be decomposed into two related problems: (1) distilling a common message from correlated random sequences X and Y, and (2) channel coding for a binary input fast fading channel with channel state information available only at the decoder. The first problem is an information theory problem, and is independent of the second channel coding problem.
The information theoretic problem attempts to distill the correlated Gaussian sequence Y, in the presence of the quantum channel noise Z, as given by Y = X + Z. This problem is more formally known as “secret key agreement by public discussion from common information”.^{84} The efficiency β = R_{code}/C(s) and channel capacity \(C(s)\) = \(0.5{\kern 1pt} {\mathrm{log}}_2(1 + s)\) are the efficiency and capacity related to solving the information theoretic problem, where s represents the SNR on the optical quantum channel. For clarity, let us redefine the overall QKD system efficiency as β_{AWGN} and the capacity as C_{AWGN}.
In the channel coding problem, Alice attempts to recover an encoded codeword C via errorcorrection decoding. In Eq. (5), the noise represents a fading channel where each ith symbol has a unique channel noise variance. Thus, the coding (fading) channel has an ergodic capacity, which can be expressed as C_{coding} = \({\Bbb E}\left[ {\frac{1}{2}{\mathrm{log}}_2\left( {1 + \frac{1}{{\sigma _{Ni}^2}}} \right)} \right]\). The ergodic capacity C_{coding} can be computed by averaging the SNR given by \(1{\mathrm{/}}\sigma _{Ni}^2\) for i = 1, 2, …, n. It follows then that the channel coding efficiency is given by β_{coding} = R_{code}/C_{coding}.
The overall QKD system efficiency can then be expressed independent of the code rate as follows:
The ergodic capacity of multidimensional reconciliation schemes d = 2, 4, 8 can be determined by applying the same expression for C_{coding}. In this paper, we consider only the overall QKD system efficiency β_{AWGN}, which we denote herein more simply as β.
Data availability
The authors declare that the data supporting the findings of this study are available within the article.
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Acknowledgements
The authors would like to thank the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) for supporting this research through the NSERC Discovery Grant Program, Dr. Christian Weedbrook and Dr. Xingxing Xing for their technical guidance related to CVQKD, Dr. Alhassan Khedr for his guidance on GPU parallel programming, Professor HoiKwong Lo at the University of Toronto for his insights on stateoftheart implementations, Professor Stefano Pirandola at the University of York for introducing us to the upper bound on secret key rate for lossy channels, Dr. Christoph Pacher at the Austrian Institute of Technology for his clarifications on finitesize effects, Professor Frank Kschischang at the University of Toronto for his insights on quantum vs. coding channel capacity, and Professors Jason Anderson and Stark Draper at the University of Toronto for our discussions on GPU implementations and multiedge codes.
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M.M. and C.F. developed the mathematical preliminaries for multidimensional reverse reconciliation. L.Z. constructed the random and quasicyclic multiedge LDPC codes. M.M. developed the GPUbased decoder, performed the simulations, and extracted the results. P.G. supervised this work.
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Milicevic, M., Feng, C., Zhang, L.M. et al. Quasicyclic multiedge LDPC codes for longdistance quantum cryptography. npj Quantum Inf 4, 21 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/s4153401800706
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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s4153401800706
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