Accurate modeling of noise in quantum error correcting circuits
Gutierrez Arguedas, Mauricio
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A universal, scalable quantum computer will require the use of quantum error correction in order to achieve fault tolerance. The assessment and comparison of error-correcting strategies is performed by classical simulation. However, due to the prohibitive exponential scaling of general quantum circuits, simulations are restrained to specific subsets of quantum operations. This creates a gap between accuracy and efficiency which is particularly problematic when modeling noise, because most realistic noise models are not efficiently simulable on a classical computer. We have introduced extensions to the Pauli channel, the traditional error channel employed to model noise in simulations of quantum circuits. These expanded error channels are still computationally tractable to simulate, but result in more accurate approximations to realistic error channels at the single qubit level. Using the Steane [[7,1,3]] code, we have also investigated the behavior of these expanded channels at the logical error-corrected level. We have found that it depends strongly on whether the error is incoherent or coherent. In general, the Pauli channel will be an excellent approximation to incoherent channels, but an unsatisfactory one for coherent channels, especially because it severely underestimates the magnitude of the error. Finally, we also studied the honesty and accuracy of the expanded channels at the logical level. Our results suggest that these measures can be employed to generate lower and upper bounds to a quantum code's threshold under the influence of a specific error channel.