Quantum circuit debugging and sensitivity analysis via local inversions

Fernando A. Calderon-Vargas1, Timothy Proctor2, Kenneth Rudinger2, and Mohan Sarovar1

1Sandia National Laboratories, Livermore, CA 94550, USA
2Quantum Performance Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, NM 87185, USA and Livermore, CA 94550, USA

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As the width and depth of quantum circuits implemented by state-of-the-art quantum processors rapidly increase, circuit analysis and assessment via classical simulation are becoming unfeasible. It is crucial, therefore, to develop new methods to identify significant error sources in large and complex quantum circuits. In this work, we present a technique that pinpoints the sections of a quantum circuit that affect the circuit output the most and thus helps to identify the most significant sources of error. The technique requires no classical verification of the circuit output and is thus a scalable tool for debugging large quantum programs in the form of circuits. We demonstrate the practicality and efficacy of the proposed technique by applying it to example algorithmic circuits implemented on IBM quantum machines.

The rapid increase in qubit numbers and executable quantum circuit depths will soon reach the point where accurately predicting a program’s success rate and identifying sources of error in quantum circuit implementations will be impossible with current techniques based on individual gate-level characterization. This work introduces a novel in-situ tool for debugging quantum circuit implementations that identifies the circuit layers that most influence the circuit output and also discovers time-dependent error modes, such as the degradation of gates during execution. Our technique is based on locally inverting individual circuit layers, which amplifies errors in the inverted layers. Through analysis, simulation, and experiments on IBM quantum computers, we show the effectiveness and practicality of our technique in identifying the layers that perturb the circuit output the most. Moreover, we show that the impact of a given layer depends not only on the error rates of the gates that form the layer but also on the structure of the entire circuit. The proposed technique is a useful in-situ diagnostic and debugging tool for increasingly complex quantum algorithm implementations. ​

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Cited by

[1] Colin Kai-Uwe Becker, Ilie-Daniel Gheorghe-Pop, and Nikolay Tcholtchev, 2023 IEEE International Conference on Quantum Software (QSW) 54 (2023) ISBN:979-8-3503-0479-4.

[2] Tirthak Patel, Daniel Silver, and Devesh Tiwari, "CHARTER: Identifying the Most-Critical Gate Operations in Quantum Circuits via Amplified Gate Reversibility", arXiv:2211.09903, (2022).

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