A volumetric framework for quantum computer benchmarks

Robin Blume-Kohout and Kevin C. Young

Quantum Performance Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, NM 87185 and Livermore, California 94550

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Abstract

We propose a very large family of benchmarks for probing the performance of quantum computers. We call them $\textit{volumetric benchmarks}$ (VBs) because they generalize IBM's benchmark for measuring quantum volume [1]. The quantum volume benchmark defines a family of $\textit{square}$ circuits whose depth $d$ and width $w$ are the same. A volumetric benchmark defines a family of $\textit{rectangular}$ quantum circuits, for which $d$ and $w$ are uncoupled to allow the study of time/space performance trade-offs. Each VB defines a mapping from circuit shapes — $(w,d)$ pairs — to test suites $\mathcal{C}$$\textit(w,d)$. A test suite is an ensemble of test circuits that share a common structure. The test suite $\mathcal{C}$ for a given circuit shape may be a single circuit $C$, a specific list of circuits $\{C_1\ldots C_N\}$ that must all be run, or a large set of possible circuits equipped with a distribution $Pr(C)$. The circuits in a given VB share a structure, which is limited only by designers' creativity. We list some known benchmarks, and other circuit families, that fit into the VB framework: several families of random circuits, periodic circuits, and algorithm-inspired circuits. The last ingredient defining a benchmark is a success criterion that defines when a processor is judged to have ``passed'' a given test circuit. We discuss several options. Benchmark data can be analyzed in many ways to extract many properties, but we propose a simple, universal graphical summary of results that illustrates the Pareto frontier of the $d$ vs $w$ trade-off for the processor being benchmarked.

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