There and back again: A circuit extraction tale

Miriam Backens1, Hector Miller-Bakewell2, Giovanni de Felice2, Leo Lobski3, and John van de Wetering4

1University of Birmingham
2University of Oxford
3ILLC, University of Amsterdam (until 2020)
4Radboud University Nijmegen

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Translations between the quantum circuit model and the measurement-based one-way model are useful for verification and optimisation of quantum computations. They make crucial use of a property known as gflow. While gflow is defined for one-way computations allowing measurements in three different planes of the Bloch sphere, most research so far has focused on computations containing only measurements in the XY-plane. Here, we give the first circuit-extraction algorithm to work for one-way computations containing measurements in all three planes and having gflow. The algorithm is efficient and the resulting circuits do not contain ancillae. One-way computations are represented using the ZX-calculus, hence the algorithm also represents the most general known procedure for extracting circuits from ZX-diagrams. In developing this algorithm, we generalise several concepts and results previously known for computations containing only XY-plane measurements. We bring together several known rewrite rules for measurement patterns and formalise them in a unified notation using the ZX-calculus. These rules are used to simplify measurement patterns by reducing the number of qubits while preserving both the semantics and the existence of gflow. The results can be applied to circuit optimisation by translating circuits to patterns and back again.

The components of any classical computer, at their most basic level, can be described using the formalism of logic gates. Any computable mathematical function can be expressed as a circuit built from logic gates. Similarly we can build circuits for quantum computers from quantum gates. Yet there is also a second way of performing quantum computation with no equivalent in the classical world. It uses the property that quantum measurements — unlike classical measurements — can change the state being measured. In this measurement-based quantum computation model, a fixed resource state of many qubits, called a graph state, is prepared at the beginning. Then the computation proceeds not via gates, but via measurements on individual qubits.

Translations between these two models are useful for optimisation (e.g. time taken or number of gates used) and for verification (i.e. confirming that the computation does indeed perform the desired procedure). While it is easy to translate from circuits to measurement-based computations, previous algorithms for translating measurement-based computations into circuits did not work in all cases.

In this work we give the first translation algorithm that works for all measurement-based computations with a property called extended gflow, which encompasses all the computations that are usually studied. We then use the algorithm to optimise quantum circuits by translating them into the measurement-based model and back. The translations are performed using the ZX-calculus, a graphical language that can express both quantum circuits and measurement-based computations.

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