Matchgate Shadows for Fermionic Quantum Simulation
"Classical shadows" are estimators of an unknown quantum state, constructed from suitably distributed random measurements on copies of that state [Nature Physics 16, 1050-1057]. Here, we analyze classical shadows obtained using random matchgate circuits, which correspond to fermionic Gaussian unitaries. We prove that the first three moments of the Haar distribution over the continuous group of matchgate circuits are equal to those of the discrete uniform distribution over only the matchgate circuits that are also Clifford unitaries; thus, the latter forms a "matchgate 3-design." This implies that the classical shadows resulting from the two ensembles are functionally equivalent. We show how one can use these matchgate shadows to efficiently estimate inner products between an arbitrary quantum state and fermionic Gaussian states, as well as the expectation values of local fermionic operators and various other quantities, thus surpassing the capabilities of prior work. As a concrete application, this enables us to apply wavefunction constraints that control the fermion sign problem in the quantum-classical auxiliary-field quantum Monte Carlo algorithm (QC-AFQMC) [Nature 603, 416-420], without the exponential post-processing cost incurred by the original approach.