Errors in quantum logic gates are usually modeled by quantum process matrices (CPTP maps). But process matrices can be opaque and unwieldy. We show how to transform the process matrix of a gate into an error generator that represents the same information more usefully. We construct a basis of simple and physically intuitive elementary error generators, classify them, and show how to represent the error generator of any gate as a mixture of elementary error generators with various rates. Finally, we show how to build a large variety of reduced models for gate errors by combining elementary error generators and/or entire subsectors of generator space. We conclude with a few examples of reduced models, including one with just 9N2 parameters that describes almost all commonly predicted errors on an N-qubit processor.
Nuclear spins were among the first physical platforms to be considered for quantum information processing1,2, because of their exceptional quantum coherence3 and atomic-scale footprint. However, their full potential for quantum computing has not yet been realized, owing to the lack of methods with which to link nuclear qubits within a scalable device combined with multi-qubit operations with sufficient fidelity to sustain fault-tolerant quantum computation. Here we demonstrate universal quantum logic operations using a pair of ion-implanted 31P donor nuclei in a silicon nanoelectronic device. A nuclear two-qubit controlled-Z gate is obtained by imparting a geometric phase to a shared electron spin4, and used to prepare entangled Bell states with fidelities up to 94.2(2.7)%. The quantum operations are precisely characterized using gate set tomography (GST)5, yielding one-qubit average gate fidelities up to 99.95(2)%, two-qubit average gate fidelity of 99.37(11)% and two-qubit preparation/measurement fidelities of 98.95(4)%. These three metrics indicate that nuclear spins in silicon are approaching the performance demanded in fault-tolerant quantum processors6. We then demonstrate entanglement between the two nuclei and the shared electron by producing a Greenberger–Horne–Zeilinger three-qubit state with 92.5(1.0)% fidelity. Because electron spin qubits in semiconductors can be further coupled to other electrons7–9 or physically shuttled across different locations10,11, these results establish a viable route for scalable quantum information processing using donor nuclear and electron spins.
Quantum computers can now run interesting programs, but each processor’s capability—the set of programs that it can run successfully—is limited by hardware errors. These errors can be complicated, making it difficult to accurately predict a processor’s capability. Benchmarks can be used to measure capability directly, but current benchmarks have limited flexibility and scale poorly to many-qubit processors. We show how to construct scalable, efficiently verifiable benchmarks based on any program by using a technique that we call circuit mirroring. With it, we construct two flexible, scalable volumetric benchmarks based on randomized and periodically ordered programs. We use these benchmarks to map out the capabilities of twelve publicly available processors, and to measure the impact of program structure on each one. We find that standard error metrics are poor predictors of whether a program will run successfully on today’s hardware, and that current processors vary widely in their sensitivity to program structure.
Measurements that occur within the internal layers of a quantum circuit—midcircuit measurements—are a useful quantum-computing primitive, most notably for quantum error correction. Midcircuit measurements have both classical and quantum outputs, so they can be subject to error modes that do not exist for measurements that terminate quantum circuits. Here we show how to characterize midcircuit measurements, modeled by quantum instruments, using a technique that we call quantum instrument linear gate set tomography (QILGST). We then apply this technique to characterize a dispersive measurement on a superconducting transmon qubit within a multiqubit system. By varying the delay time between the measurement pulse and subsequent gates, we explore the impact of residual cavity photon population on measurement error. QILGST can resolve different error modes and quantify the total error from a measurement; in our experiment, for delay times above 1000ns we measure a total error rate (i.e., half diamond distance) of ϵ⋄=8.1±1.4%, a readout fidelity of 97.0±0.3%, and output quantum-state fidelities of 96.7±0.6% and 93.7±0.7% when measuring 0 and 1, respectively.
We present a simple and powerful technique for finding a good error model for a quantum processor. The technique iteratively tests a nested sequence of models against data obtained from the processor, and keeps track of the best-fit model and its wildcard error (a metric of the amount of unmodeled error) at each step. Each best-fit model, along with a quantification of its unmodeled error, constitutes a characterization of the processor. We explain how quantum processor models can be compared with experimental data and to each other. We demonstrate the technique by using it to characterize a simulated noisy two-qubit processor.
If quantum information processors are to fulfill their potential, the diverse errors that affect them must be understood and suppressed. But errors typically fluctuate over time, and the most widely used tools for characterizing them assume static error modes and rates. This mismatch can cause unheralded failures, misidentified error modes, and wasted experimental effort. Here, we demonstrate a spectral analysis technique for resolving time dependence in quantum processors. Our method is fast, simple, and statistically sound. It can be applied to time-series data from any quantum processor experiment. We use data from simulations and trapped-ion qubit experiments to show how our method can resolve time dependence when applied to popular characterization protocols, including randomized benchmarking, gate set tomography, and Ramsey spectroscopy. In the experiments, we detect instability and localize its source, implement drift control techniques to compensate for this instability, and then demonstrate that the instability has been suppressed.
PyGSTi is a Python software package for assessing and characterizing the performance of quantum computing processors. It can be used as a standalone application, or as a library, to perform a wide variety of quantum characterization, verification, and validation (QCVV) protocols on as-built quantum processors. We outline pyGSTi's structure, and what it can do, using multiple examples. We cover its main characterization protocols with end-to-end implementations. These include gate set tomography, randomized benchmarking on one or many qubits, and several specialized techniques. We also discuss and demonstrate how power users can customize pyGSTi and leverage its components to create specialized QCVV protocols and solve user-specific problems.
Benchmarking methods that can be adapted to multiqubit systems are essential for assessing the overall or "holistic" performance of nascent quantum processors. The current industry standard is Clifford randomized benchmarking (RB), which measures a single error rate that quantifies overall performance. But, scaling Clifford RB to many qubits is surprisingly hard. It has only been performed on one, two, and three qubits as of this writing. This reflects a fundamental inefficiency in Clifford RB: the n-qubit Clifford gates at its core have to be compiled into large circuits over the one- and two-qubit gates native to a device. As n grows, the quality of these Clifford gates quickly degrades, making Clifford RB impractical at relatively low n. In this Letter, we propose a direct RB protocol that mostly avoids compiling. Instead, it uses random circuits over the native gates in a device, which are seeded by an initial layer of Clifford-like randomization. We demonstrate this protocol experimentally on two to five qubits using the publicly available ibmqx5. We believe this to be the greatest number of qubits holistically benchmarked, and this was achieved on a freely available device without any special tuning up. Our protocol retains the simplicity and convenient properties of Clifford RB: it estimates an error rate from an exponential decay. But, it can be extended to processors with more qubits - we present simulations on 10+ qubits - and it reports a more directly informative and flexible error rate than the one reported by Clifford RB. We show how to use this flexibility to measure separate error rates for distinct sets of gates, and we use this method to estimate the average error rate of a set of cnot gates.