# What is meant with "reconciliation" in CV QKD?

I am working on a paper about Continuous Variable QKD. (https://arxiv.org/abs/1711.08500v2)

I read about direct and reverse reconciliation in this paper. I don't understand what exactly Reconciliation is? Reconciliation algorithms, reconciliation protocols and so on.

I am really confused. Can any one explain reconciliation to me?

– JSdJ
Nov 17, 2020 at 10:12
• I believe the term "reconciliation" or "information reconciliation" refers to the error correction step that comes after Alice and Bob have generated their raw key. Their raw keys $K_A$ and $K_B$ will not be exactly equal so Alice and Bob have to communicate some classical information to allow them to error correct $K_A$ and $K_B$ so that after the procedure they have new keys $J_A$, $J_B$ such that $J_A = J_B$ (with high probability). Nov 17, 2020 at 10:26
• @Rammus Exactly what I thought, I was writing up an answer:)
– JSdJ
Nov 17, 2020 at 10:34
• @Rammus as I understand, reverse reconciliation and post selection are two different method to reach significant transmission distances. Am I right? Nov 19, 2020 at 7:12

I assume the paper you are reading is referring to information reconciliation.

Information reconciliation is a vital part of post-processing in QKD, to limit (or erase in the best-case scenario) the amount of errors/differences between the key of Alice and Bob.

In that sense, it is a form of (classical) error-correction, and, broadly speaking, it works like this:

• Alice and Bob run a QKD protocol together and both obtain a raw key $$k_{a}$$ and $$k_{b}$$ of whatever length.
• In real world scenarios, $$k_{a} \not = k_{b}$$ due to measurement errors, imperfect channels etc. Alice and Bob want the exact same key, so they need to fix this.
• However, $$k_{a} \simeq k_{b}$$; we can write $$k_{b} = k_{a} + \epsilon$$, where $$\epsilon$$ is the error/difference between Alice and Bob, and therefore $$\epsilon \simeq \overrightarrow{0}$$ (i.e. $$\epsilon$$ is a bitstring with almost all entries equal to $$0$$ because there are not that many errors).
• Alice and Bob have (in advance) agreed to use a certain error code to perform error correction. This error code is some linear function $$f$$ that calculates the syndrome $$s$$ of a key. Note that the error code may or may not be secret to Alice and Bob.
• It is hard to reverse this function in general. $$s$$ is of considerably shorter length than $$k$$. So, there are multiple $$k$$ with the same $$s$$.
• Alice calculates $$s_{a} = f(k_{a})$$ and publicly communicates $$s_{a}$$. Any Eve cannot do anything with this because the function is in general hard to reverse.
• Bob receives $$s_{a}$$ and calculates $$s_{b}$$. The function is linear, so $$s_{b} = f(k_{b}) = f(k_{a} + \epsilon) = f(k_{a}) + f(\epsilon) = s_{a} + s_{\epsilon}$$. Therefore, the 'error syndrome' $$s_{\epsilon} = s_{a} - s_{b}$$ encodes only information about $$\epsilon$$.
• Only Bob can calculate $$s_{\epsilon}$$. Because the code was designed properly (and for this exact function), and because $$\epsilon \simeq \overrightarrow{0}$$, Bob can decode the error syndrome to estimate $$\epsilon$$: $$\hat{\epsilon} = f^{-1}(s_{\epsilon})$$.
• Finally, Bob calculates $$\hat{k_{a}} = k_{b} - \hat{\epsilon}$$. If the code is any good, $$\hat{k_{a}} - k_{a} \rightarrow 0$$, i.e. Alices key and Bobs corrected key are very close/almost always the same.

There are a lot of important details I have grossed over, but this is the general idea. For a nice introduction of information reconciliation/error correction in the scope of QKD, check this paper.

Note that the above is error-correction for general QKD, not necessarily only for continuous variable QKD. I suspect that there are small discrepancies between the two, but the main goal should be the same.