Enabling a Programming Environment for an Experimental Ion Trap Quantum Testbed

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Adams, Austin Joel
Conte, Thomas M.
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Ion trap quantum hardware promises to provide a computational advantage over classical computing for specific problem spaces while also providing an alternative hardware implementation path to cryogenic quantum systems as typified by IBM's quantum hardware. However, programming ion trap systems currently requires both strategies to mitigate high levels of noise and also tools to ease the challenge of programming these systems with pulse- or gate-level operations. This thesis focuses on improving the state-of-the-art for quantum programming of ion trap testbeds through the use of a quantum language specification, QCOR, and by demonstrating multi-level optimizations at the language, intermediate representation, and hardware backend levels. A new QCOR/XACC backend is implemented to target a general ion trap testbed and then demonstrate the usage of multi-level optimizations to improve circuit fidelity and to reduce gate count. These techniques include the usage of a backend-specific numerical optimizer and physical gate optimizations to minimize the number of native instructions sent to the hardware. The new compiler backend is evaluated using several QCOR benchmark programs, finding that on present testbed hardware, the new compiler backend maintains the number of two-qubit native operations but decreases the number of single-qubit native operations by 1.54 times compared to the previous compiler regime. For projected testbed hardware upgrades, the new compiler sees a reduction in two-qubit native operations by 2.40 times and one-qubit native operations by 6.13 times.
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