Relations between the single-pass and multi-pass qubit gate errors. (arXiv:1903.02371v2 [quant-ph] UPDATED)

In quantum computation the target fidelity of the qubit gates is very high,
with the admissible error being in the range from $10^{-3}$ to $10^{-4}$ and
even less, depending on the protocol. The direct experimental determination of
such an extremely small error is very challenging by standard quantum-process
tomography. Instead, the method of randomized benchmarking, which uses a random
sequence of Clifford gates, has become a standard tool for determination of the
average gate error as the decay constant in the exponentially decaying
fidelity. In this paper, the task for determining a tiny error is addressed by
sequentially repeating the \emph{same} gate multiple times, which leads to the
coherent amplification of the error, until it reaches large enough values to be
measured reliably. If the transition probability is $p=1-\epsilon$ with
$\epsilon \ll 1$ in the single process, then classical intuition dictates that
the probability after $N$ passes should be $P_N \approx 1 - N \epsilon$.
However, this classical expectation is misleading because it neglects
interference effects. This paper presents a rigorous theoretical analysis based
on the SU(2) symmetry of the qubit propagator, resulting in explicit analytic
relations that link the $N$-pass propagator to the single-pass one in terms of
Chebyshev polynomials. In particular, the relations suggest that in some
special cases the $N$-pass transition probability degrades as $P_N =
1-N^2\epsilon$, i.e. dramatically faster than the classical probability
estimate. In the general case, however, the relation between the single-pass
and $N$-pass propagators is much more involved. Recipes are proposed for
unambiguous determination of the gate errors in the general case, and for both
Clifford and non-Clifford gates.

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