Noise reduction using past causal cones in variational quantum algorithms

Omar Shehab, Isaac H. Kim, Nhung H. Nguyen, Kevin Landsman, Cinthia H. Alderete, Daiwei Zhu, C. Monroe, Norbert M. Linke

We introduce an approach to improve the accuracy and reduce the sample complexity of near term quantum-classical algorithms. We construct a simpler initial parameterized quantum state, or ansatz, based on the past causal cone of each observable, generally yielding fewer qubits and gates. We implement this protocol on a trapped ion quantum computer and demonstrate improvement in accuracy and time-to-solution at an arbitrary point in the variational search space. We report a $\sim 27\%$ improvement in the accuracy of the calculation of the deuteron binding energy and $\sim 40\%$ improvement in the accuracy of the quantum approximate optimization of the MAXCUT problem applied to the dragon graph $T_{3,2}$. When the time-to-solution is prioritized over accuracy, the former requires $\sim 71\%$ fewer measurements and the latter requires $\sim 78\%$ fewer measurements.

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