'''This article is based on Introduction to [http://www.perimeterinstitute.ca/personal/dgottesman/QSS.html Quantum Secret Sharing] by Daniel Gottesman.'''
Suppose Alice and Bob wish to set up a joint checking account: neither
of them can access it alone, but together, they can withdraw
money. One way to do this is to require a secret password, for
instance 011 100 001 010, to use the account. Neither Alice nor Bob
alone has this password. Instead, Alice has a string of random numbers
101 010 010 001, and Bob has the bitwise XOR of the key and Alice's
bitstring:
key 011 100 001 010
Alice 101 010 010 001
Bob 110 110 011 011
Neither Alice nor Bob has any information about the key, but by
putting their two codewords together, they can completely recover the
key and access the bank account.
This is a simple example of a classical secret sharing scheme. The
secret bank account password is shared between Alice and Bob. Much
more elaborate secret sharing schemes exist. For instance, it is
possible to share a secret among 3 people so that any two of them can
reconstruct it, but any single person has no information about it. In
fact, it is possible to share a secret among n people so that any k of
them can reconstruct it, but any k-1 of them have no information about
the secret, for any n and k. This is known as a (k, n) threshold
scheme.
Classical secret sharing can be used in a number of ways besides for a
joint checking account. The secret key could access a bank vault, or a
computer account, or any of a variety of things. In addition, secret
sharing is a necessary component for performing secure distributed
computations among a number of people who do not completely trust each
other.
With the boom in quantum computation, it seems possible, even likely,
that quantum states will become nearly as important as classical
data. It might therefore be useful to have some way of sharing secret
quantum states as well as secret classical data. Such a quantum secret
sharing scheme might be useful for sharing quantum keys, such as those
used in quantum key distribution or in other quantum cryptographic
protocols. In addition, quantum secret sharing might allow us to take
advantage of the additional power of quantum computation in secure
distributed computations.
Consider the following simple example, sharing a three-state quantum
trit (a qutrit) among three people:
|0> -> |000> + |111> + |222>
|1> -> |012> + |120> + |201>
|2> -> |021> + |102> + |210>
No matter what the encoded state is, any single person is equally
likely to find himself holding |0>, |1>, or |2>, so he has no
information about the encoded state. On the other hand, any two people
can easily reconstruct the secret. For instance, Alice and Bob,
holding shares a and b, compute (b-a) mod 3. By doing this quantum
mechanically, they can disentangle the phase as well, thus
reconstructing the state, even if it is in a quantum
superposition. This is thus an example of a ((2, 3)) quantum threshold
scheme: any two people can reconstruct the secret, but one person
alone has no information.
In fact, we can create a ((k, n)) quantum threshold scheme for any k
and n, as long as n < 2k. The reason for this constraint is the
No-Cloning Theorem, which states that it is impossible to copy a
quantum state. If we had a ((k, 2k)) threshold scheme, we could use it
to encode a state, take two sets of k shares, and use them to
reconstruct two copies of the original state. Since we know this is
impossible, no such scheme can exist.
Category:Quantum Cryptography
Category:Introductory_Tutorials
Category:Handbook of Quantum Information

## Last modified:

Monday, October 26, 2015 - 17:56