Paper 2020/654

Proximity Gaps for Reed-Solomon Codes

Eli Ben-Sasson, Dan Carmon, Yuval Ishai, Swastik Kopparty, and Shubhangi Saraf


A collection of sets displays a proximity gap with respect to some property if for every set in the collection, either (i) all members are $\delta$-close to the property in relative Hamming distance or (ii) only a tiny fraction of members are $\delta$-close to the property. In particular, no set in the collection has roughly half of its members $\delta$-close to the property and the others $\delta$-far from it. We show that the collection of affine spaces displays a proximity gap with respect to Reed--Solomon (RS) codes, even over small fields, of size polynomial in the dimension of the code, and the gap applies to any $\delta$ smaller than the Johnson/Guruswami-Sudan list-decoding bound of the RS code. We also show near-optimal gap results, over fields of (at least) linear size in the RS code dimension, for $\delta$ smaller than the unique decoding radius. Concretely, if $\delta$ is smaller than half the minimal distance of an RS code $V\subset {\mathbb F}_q^n$, every affine space is either entirely $\delta$-close to the code, or alternatively at most an $(n/q)$-fraction of it is $\delta$-close to the code. Finally, we discuss several applications of our proximity gap results to distributed storage, multi-party cryptographic protocols, and concretely efficient proof systems. We prove the proximity gap results by analyzing the execution of classical algebraic decoding algorithms for Reed--Solomon codes (due to Berlekamp-Welch and Guruswami-Sudan) on a formal element of an affine space. This involves working with Reed-Solomon codes whose base field is an (infinite) rational function field. Our proofs are obtained by developing an extension (to function fields) of a strategy of Arora and Sudan for analyzing low-degree tests.

Note: Minor revision, including new appendix D which addresses a subtle flaw in the Polishchuk-Spielman lemma. Fixing the flaw makes no changes to our main statements.

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Cryptographic protocols
Publication info
Published elsewhere. Minor revision. FOCS 2020
Interactive Oracle ProofsReed Solomon codesVerifiable Secret SharingProperty Testing
Contact author(s)
eli @ starkware co
2021-07-03: last of 3 revisions
2020-06-03: received
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      author = {Eli Ben-Sasson and Dan Carmon and Yuval Ishai and Swastik Kopparty and Shubhangi Saraf},
      title = {Proximity Gaps for Reed-Solomon Codes},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2020/654},
      year = {2020},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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