An Operational Characterization of Mutual Information in Algorithmic Information Theory

Authors Andrei Romashchenko, Marius Zimand

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Author Details

Andrei Romashchenko
  • LIRMM, Univ Montpellier, CNRS, Montpellier, France
  • on leave from IITP RAS
Marius Zimand
  • Department of Computer and Information Sciences, Towson University, Baltimore, MD,

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Andrei Romashchenko and Marius Zimand. An Operational Characterization of Mutual Information in Algorithmic Information Theory. In 45th International Colloquium on Automata, Languages, and Programming (ICALP 2018). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 107, pp. 95:1-95:14, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2018)


We show that the mutual information, in the sense of Kolmogorov complexity, of any pair of strings x and y is equal, up to logarithmic precision, to the length of the longest shared secret key that two parties, one having x and the complexity profile of the pair and the other one having y and the complexity profile of the pair, can establish via a probabilistic protocol with interaction on a public channel. For l > 2, the longest shared secret that can be established from a tuple of strings (x_1, . . . , x_l) by l parties, each one having one component of the tuple and the complexity profile of the tuple, is equal, up to logarithmic precision, to the complexity of the tuple minus the minimum communication necessary for distributing the tuple to all parties. We establish the communication complexity of secret key agreement protocols that produce a secret key of maximal length, for protocols with public randomness. We also show that if the communication complexity drops below the established threshold then only very short secret keys can be obtained.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Mathematics of computing → Information theory
  • Theory of computation → Communication complexity
  • Theory of computation → Probabilistic computation
  • Kolmogorov complexity
  • mutual information
  • communication complexity
  • secret key agreement


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