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Quantum error correction with biased noise

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  • Chemistry
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Quantum computing offers powerful new techniques for speeding up the calculation of many classically intractable problems. Quantum algorithms can allow for the efficient simulation of physical systems, with applications to basic research, chemical modeling, and drug discovery; other algorithms have important implications for cryptography and internet security. At the same time, building a quantum computer is a daunting task, requiring the coherent manipulation of systems with many quantum degrees of freedom while preventing environmental noise from interacting too strongly with the system. Fortunately, we know that, under reasonable assumptions, we can use the techniques of quantum error correction and fault tolerance to achieve an arbitrary reduction in the noise level. In this thesis, we look at how additional information about the structure of noise, or "noise bias," can improve or alter the performance of techniques in quantum error correction and fault tolerance. In Chapter 2, we explore the possibility of designing certain quantum gates to be extremely robust with respect to errors in their operation. This naturally leads to structured noise where certain gates can be implemented in a protected manner, allowing the user to focus their protection on the noisier unprotected operations. In Chapter 3, we examine how to tailor error-correcting codes and fault-tolerant quantum circuits in the presence of dephasing biased noise, where dephasing errors are far more common than bit-flip errors. By using an appropriately asymmetric code, we demonstrate the ability to improve the amount of error reduction and decrease the physical resources required for error correction. In Chapter 4, we analyze a variety of protocols for distilling magic states, which enable universal quantum computation, in the presence of faulty Clifford operations. Here again there is a hierarchy of noise levels, with a fixed error rate for faulty gates, and a second rate for errors in the distilled states which decreases as the states are distilled to better quality. The interplay of of these different rates sets limits on the achievable distillation and how quickly states converge to that limit.

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