Clifford recompilation for faster classical simulation of quantum circuits

Hammam Qassim (University of Waterloo), Joel J. Wallman (University of Waterlo), Joseph Emerson (University of Waterloo)

Simulating quantum circuits classically is an important area of research in quantum information, with applications in computational complexity and validation of quantum devices. One of the state-of-the-art simulators, that of Bravyi et al, utilizes a randomized sparsification technique to approximate the output state of a quantum circuit by a stabilizer sum with a reduced number of terms. In this paper, we describe an improved Monte Carlo algorithm for performing randomized sparsification. This algorithm reduces the runtime of computing the approximate state by the factor ℓ/m, where ℓ and m are respectively the total and non-Clifford gate counts. The main technique is a circuit recompilation routine based on manipulating exponentiated Pauli operators. The recompilation routine also facilitates numerical search for Clifford decompositions of products of gates, which can further reduce the runtime in certain cases. We provide a concise exposition of randomized sparsification, and describe how to use it to estimate circuit amplitudes in a way which can be generalized to a broader class of gates and states. This latter method can be used to obtain additive error estimates of circuit probabilities with a faster runtime than the full techniques of Bravyi et al. Such estimates are useful for validating near-term quantum devices provided that the target probability is not exponentially small.