Random quantum circuits are approximate unitary $t$-designs in depth $O\left(nt^{5+o(1)}\right)$

Jonas Haferkamp

Dahlem Center for Complex Quantum Systems, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany

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The applications of random quantum circuits range from quantum computing and quantum many-body systems to the physics of black holes. Many of these applications are related to the generation of quantum pseudorandomness: Random quantum circuits are known to approximate unitary $t$-designs. Unitary $t$-designs are probability distributions that mimic Haar randomness up to $t$th moments. In a seminal paper, Brandão, Harrow and Horodecki prove that random quantum circuits on qubits in a brickwork architecture of depth $O(n t^{10.5})$ are approximate unitary $t$-designs. In this work, we revisit this argument, which lower bounds the spectral gap of moment operators for local random quantum circuits by $\Omega(n^{-1}t^{-9.5})$. We improve this lower bound to $\Omega(n^{-1}t^{-4-o(1)})$, where the $o(1)$ term goes to $0$ as $t\to\infty$. A direct consequence of this scaling is that random quantum circuits generate approximate unitary $t$-designs in depth $O(nt^{5+o(1)})$. Our techniques involve Gao's quantum union bound and the unreasonable effectiveness of the Clifford group. As an auxiliary result, we prove fast convergence to the Haar measure for random Clifford unitaries interleaved with Haar random single qubit unitaries.

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