Efficient quantum measurement of Pauli operators

TitleEfficient quantum measurement of Pauli operators
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsCrawford, O, van Straaten, B, Wang, D, Parks, T, Campbell, E, Brierley, S
Start Page385
Date Published01/19/2021

Estimating the expectation value of an observable is a fundamental task in quantum computation. Unfortunately, it is often impossible to obtain such estimates directly, as the computer is restricted to measuring in a fixed computational basis. One common solution splits the observable into a weighted sum of Pauli operators and measures each separately, at the cost of many measurements. An improved version first groups mutually commuting Pauli operators together and then measures all operators within each group simultaneously. The effectiveness of this depends on two factors. First, to enable simultaneous measurement, circuits are required to rotate each group to the computational basis. In our work, we present two efficient circuit constructions that suitably rotate any group of k commuting n-qubit Pauli operators using at most kn−k(k+1)/2 and O(kn/logk) two-qubit gates respectively. Second, metrics that justifiably measure the effectiveness of a grouping are required. In our work, we propose two natural metrics that operate under the assumption that measurements are distributed optimally among groups. Motivated by our new metrics, we introduce SORTED INSERTION, a grouping strategy that is explicitly aware of the weighting of each Pauli operator in the observable. Our methods are numerically illustrated in the context of the Variational Quantum Eigensolver, where the observables in question are molecular Hamiltonians. As measured by our metrics, SORTED INSERTION outperforms four conventional greedy colouring algorithms that seek the minimum number of groups.