Hosting non-classical states of light in three-dimensional microwave cavities has emerged as a promising paradigm for continuous-variable quantum information processing. Here we experimentallydemonstrate high-fidelity generation of a range of Wigner-negative states useful for quantum computation, such as Schrödinger-cat states, binomial states, Gottesman-Kitaev-Preskill (GKP) states, as well as cubic phase states. The latter states have been long sought after in quantum optics and were never achieved experimentally before. To do so, we use a sequence of interleaved selective number-dependent arbitrary phase (SNAP) gates and displacements. We optimize the state preparation in two steps. First we use a gradient-descent algorithm to optimize the parameters of the SNAP and displacement gates. Then we optimize the envelope of the pulses implementing the SNAP gates. Our results show that this way of creating highly non-classical states in a harmonic oscillator is robust to fluctuations of the system parameters such as the qubit frequency and the dispersive shift.

We provide an explicit construction of a universal gate set for continuous-variable quantum computation with microwave circuits. Such a universal set has been first proposed in quantum-opticalsetups, but its experimental implementation has remained elusive in that domain due to the difficulties in engineering strong nonlinearities. Here, we show that a realistic microwave architecture allows to overcome this difficulty. As an application, we show that this architecture allows to generate a cubic phase state with an experimentally feasible procedure. This work highlights a practical advantage of microwave circuits with respect to optical systems for the purpose of engineering non-Gaussian states, and opens the quest for continuous-variable algorithms based on a few repetitions of elementary gates from the continuous-variable universal set.

Present-day, noisy, small or intermediate-scale quantum processors—although far from fault-tolerant—support the execution of heuristic quantum algorithms, which might enablea quantum advantage, for example, when applied to combinatorial optimization problems. On small-scale quantum processors, validations of such algorithms serve as important technology demonstrators. We implement the quantum approximate optimization algorithm (QAOA) on our hardware platform, consisting of two transmon qubits and one parametrically modulated coupler. We solve small instances of the NP-complete exact-cover problem, with 96.6\% success probability, by iterating the algorithm up to level two.