Paper 2015/391

On the Communication Complexity of Secure Computation

Deepesh Data, Manoj M. Prabhakaran, and Vinod M. Prabhakaran


Information theoretically secure multi-party computation (MPC) is a central primitive of modern cryptography. However, relatively little is known about the communication complexity of this primitive. In this work, we develop powerful information theoretic tools to prove lower bounds on the communication complexity of MPC. We restrict ourselves to a concrete setting involving 3-parties, in order to bring out the power of these tools without introducing too many complications. Our techniques include the use of a data processing inequality for {\em residual information} --- i.e., the gap between mutual information and Gács-Körner common information, a new {\em information inequality} for 3-party protocols, and the idea of {\em distribution switching} by which lower bounds computed under certain worst-case scenarios can be shown to apply for the general case. Using these techniques we obtain tight bounds on communication complexity by MPC protocols for various interesting functions. In particular, we show concrete functions that have ``communication-ideal'' protocols, which achieve the minimum communication simultaneously on all links in the network. Also, we obtain the first {\em explicit} example of a function that incurs a higher communication cost than the input length in the secure computation model of Feige, Kilian and Naor \cite{FeigeKiNa94}, who had shown that such functions exist. We also show that our communication bounds imply tight lower bounds on the amount of randomness required by MPC protocols for many interesting functions.

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Publication info
Published by the IACR in CRYPTO 2014
Secure Multi-party ComputationInformation TheoryCommunication ComplexityRandomness Complexity
Contact author(s)
deepesh data @ gmail com
2015-04-29: received
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      author = {Deepesh Data and Manoj M.  Prabhakaran and Vinod M.  Prabhakaran},
      title = {On the Communication Complexity of Secure Computation},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2015/391},
      year = {2015},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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