Compressed Secret Key Agreement: Maximizing Multivariate Mutual Information Per Bit

Chung Chan

The multiterminal secret key agreement problem by public discussion is formulated with an additional source compression step where, prior to the public discussion phase, users independently compress their private sources to filter out strongly correlated components for generating a common secret key. The objective is to maximize the achievable key rate as a function of the joint entropy of the compressed sources. Since the maximum achievable key rate captures the total amount of information mutual to the compressed sources, an optimal compression scheme essentially maximizes the multivariate mutual information per bit of randomness of the private sources, and can therefore be viewed more generally as a dimension reduction technique. Single-letter lower and upper bounds on the maximum achievable key rate are derived for the general source model, and an explicit polynomial-time computable formula is obtained for the pairwise independent network model. In particular, the converse results and the upper bounds are obtained from those of the related secret key agreement problem with rate-limited discussion. A precise duality is shown for the two-user case with one-way discussion, and such duality is extended to obtain the desired converse results in the multi-user case. In addition to posing new challenges in information processing and dimension reduction, the compressed secret key agreement problem helps shed new light on resolving the difficult problem of secret key agreement with rate-limited discussion, by offering a more structured achieving scheme and some simpler conjectures to prove.

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