Software Mitigation of Crosstalk on Noisy Intermediate-Scale Quantum Computers

Session: Quantum computing--Who says you can't watch two talks at once?

Authors: Prakash Murali (Princeton University); David Mckay (IBM T. J. Watson Research Center); Margaret Martonosi (Princeton University); Ali Javadi-Abhari (IBM T. J. Watson Research Center)

Crosstalk is a major source of noise in Noisy Intermediate-Scale Quantum (NISQ) systems and is a fundamental challenge for hardware design. When multiple instructions are executed in parallel, crosstalk between the instructions can corrupt the quantum state and lead to incorrect program execution. Our goal is to mitigate the application impact of crosstalk noise through software techniques. This requires (i) accurate characterization of hardware crosstalk, and (ii) intelligent instruction scheduling to serialize the affected operations. Since crosstalk characterization is computationally expensive, we develop optimizations which reduce the characterization overhead. On 3 20-qubit IBMQ systems, we demonstrate two orders of magnitude reduction in characterization time (compute time on the QC device) compared to all-pairs crosstalk measurements. Informed by these characterization, we develop a scheduler that judiciously serializes high crosstalk instructions balancing the need to mitigate crosstalk and exponential decoherence errors from serialization. On real-system runs on 3 IBMQ systems, our scheduler improves the error rate of application circuits by up to 5.6x, compared to the IBM instruction scheduler and offers near-optimal crosstalk mitigation in practice. In a broader picture, the difficulty of mitigating crosstalk has recently driven QC vendors to move towards sparser qubit connectivity or disabling nearby operations entirely in hardware, which can be detrimental to performance. Our work makes the case for software mitigation of crosstalk errors.