We present many new results related to reliable (interactive) communication over insertion-deletion channels. Synchronization errors, such as insertions and deletions, strictly generalize the usual symbol corruption errors and are much harder to protect against.

We show how to hide the complications of synchronization errors in many applications by introducing very general channel simulations which efficiently transform an insertion-deletion channel into a regular symbol corruption channel with an error rate larger by a constant factor and a slightly smaller alphabet. We utilize and generalize synchronization string based methods which were recently introduced as a tool to design essentially optimal error correcting codes for insertion-deletion channels. Our channel simulations depend on the fact that, at the cost of increasing the error rate by a constant factor, synchronization strings can be decoded in a streaming manner that preserves linearity of time. Interestingly, we provide a lower bound showing that this constant factor cannot be improved to 1+epsilon, in contrast to what is achievable for error correcting codes. Our channel simulations drastically and cleanly generalize the applicability of synchronization strings.

We provide new interactive coding schemes which simulate any interactive two-party protocol over an insertion-deletion channel. Our results improve over the interactive coding schemes of Braverman et al. [TransInf `17] and Sherstov and Wu [FOCS `17] which achieve a small constant rate and require exponential time computations with respect to computational and communication complexities. We provide the first computationally efficient interactive coding schemes for synchronization errors, the first coding scheme with a rate approaching one for small noise rates, and also the first coding scheme that works over arbitrarily small alphabet sizes. We also show tight connections between synchronization strings and edit-distance tree codes which allow us to transfer results from tree codes directly to edit-distance tree codes.

Finally, using on our channel simulations, we provide an explicit low-rate binary insertion-deletion code that improves over the state-of-the-art codes by Guruswami and Wang [TransInf `17] in terms of rate-distance trade-off.