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Nearly Optimal Measurement Scheduling for Partial Tomography of Quantum States

Xavier Bonet
Thomas O'Brien
Physical Review X, vol. 10 (2020), pp. 031064


Many applications of quantum simulation require to prepare and then characterize quantum states by performing an efficient partial tomography to estimate observables corresponding to k-body reduced density matrices (k-RDMs). For instance, variational algorithms for the quantum simulation of chemistry usually require that one measure the fermionic 2-RDM. While such marginals provide a tractable description of quantum states from which many important properties can be computed, their determination often requires a prohibitively large number of circuit repetitions. Here we describe a method by which all elements of k-RDMs acting on N qubits can be sampled with a number of circuits scaling as O(3^k log^{k-1} N), an exponential improvement in N over prior art. Next, we show that if one is able to implement a linear depth circuit on a linear array prior to measurement, then one can sample all elements of the fermionic 2-RDM using only O(N^2) circuits. We prove that this result is asymptotically optimal. Finally, we demonstrate that one can estimate the expectation value of any linear combination of fermionic 2-RDM elements using O(N^4 / w) circuits, each with only O(w) gates on a linear array where w < N is a free parameter. We expect these results will improve the viability of many proposals for near-term quantum simulation.

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