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  1. Variational Quantum Algorithms (VQA) are one of the most promising candidates for near-term quantum advantage. Traditionally, these algorithms are parameterized by rotational gate angles whose values are tuned over iterative execution on quantum machines. The iterative tuning of these gate angle parameters make VQAs more robust to a quantum machine’s noise profile. However, the effect of noise is still a significant detriment to VQA’s target estimations on real quantum machines — they are far from ideal. Thus, it is imperative to employ effective error mitigation strategies to improve the fidelity of these quantum algorithms on near-term machines.While existing error mitigation techniques built from theory do provide substantial gains, the disconnect between theory and real machine execution characteristics limit the scope of these improvements. Thus, it is critical to optimize mitigation techniques to explicitly suit the target application as well as the noise characteristics of the target machine.We propose VAQEM, which dynamically tailors existing error mitigation techniques to the actual, dynamic noisy execution characteristics of VQAs on a target quantum machine. We do so by tuning specific features of these mitigation techniques similar to the traditional rotation angle parameters -by targeting improvements towards a specific objective function which represents the VQAmore »problem at hand. In this paper, we target two types of error mitigation techniques which are suited to idle times in quantum circuits: single qubit gate scheduling and the insertion of dynamical decoupling sequences. We gain substantial improvements to VQA objective measurements — a mean of over 3x across a variety of VQA applications, run on IBM Quantum machines.More importantly, while we study two specific error mitigation techniques, the proposed variational approach is general and can be extended to many other error mitigation techniques whose specific configurations are hard to select a priori. Integrating more mitigation techniques into the VAQEM framework in the future can lead to further formidable gains, potentially realizing practically useful VQA benefits on today’s noisy quantum machines.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2023
  2. Quantum computers are traditionally operated by programmers at the granularity of a gate-based instruction set. However, the actual device-level control of a quantum computer is performed via analog pulses. We introduce a compiler that exploits direct control at this microarchitectural level to achieve significant improvements for quantum programs. Unlike quantum optimal control, our approach is bootstrapped from existing gate calibrations and the resulting pulses are simple. Our techniques are applicable to any quantum computer and realizable on current devices. We validate our techniques with millions of experimental shots on IBM quantum computers, controlled via the OpenPulse control interface. For representative benchmarks, our pulse control techniques achieve both 1.6x lower error rates and 2x faster execution time, relative to standard gate-based compilation. These improvements are critical in the near-term era of quantum computing, which is bottlenecked by error rates and qubit lifetimes.