Quantum computers will require quantum error correction to reach the low error rates necessary for solving problems that surpass the capabilities of conventional computers. One of thedominant errors limiting the performance of quantum error correction codes across multiple technology platforms is leakage out of the computational subspace arising from the multi-level structure of qubit implementations. Here, we present a resource-efficient universal leakage reduction unit for superconducting qubits using parametric flux modulation. This operation removes leakage down to our measurement accuracy of 7⋅10−4 in approximately 50ns with a low error of 2.5(1)⋅10−3 on the computational subspace, thereby reaching durations and fidelities comparable to those of single-qubit gates. We demonstrate that using the leakage reduction unit in repeated weight-two stabilizer measurements reduces the total number of detected errors in a scalable fashion to close to what can be achieved using leakage-rejection methods which do not scale. Our approach does neither require additional control electronics nor on-chip components and is applicable to both auxiliary and data qubits. These benefits make our method particularly attractive for mitigating leakage in large-scale quantum error correction circuits, a crucial requirement for the practical implementation of fault-tolerant quantum computation.

The performance of a wide range of quantum computing algorithms and protocols depends critically on the fidelity and speed of the employed qubit readout. Examples include gate sequencesbenefiting from mid-circuit, real-time, measurement-based feedback, such as qubit initialization, entanglement generation, teleportation, and perhaps most importantly, quantum error correction. A prominent and widely-used readout approach is based on the dispersive interaction of a superconducting qubit strongly coupled to a large-bandwidth readout resonator, frequently combined with a dedicated or shared Purcell filter protecting qubits from decay. By dynamically reducing the qubit-resonator detuning and thus increasing the dispersive shift, we demonstrate a beyond-state-of-the-art two-state-readout error of only 0.25% in 100 ns integration time. Maintaining low readout-drive strength, we nearly quadruple the signal-to-noise ratio of the readout by doubling the readout mode linewidth, which we quantify by considering the hybridization of the readout-resonator and its dedicated Purcell-filter. We find excellent agreement between our experimental data and our theoretical model. The presented results are expected to further boost the performance of new and existing algorithms and protocols critically depending on high-fidelity, fast, mid-circuit measurements.

Josephson traveling wave parametric amplifiers enable the amplification of weak microwave signals close to the quantum limit with large bandwidth, which has a broad range of applicationsin superconducting quantum computing and in the operation of single-photon detectors. While the large bandwidth allows for their use in frequency-multiplexed detection architectures, an increased number of readout tones per amplifier puts more stringent requirements on the dynamic range to avoid saturation. Here, we characterize the undesired mixing processes between the different frequency-multiplexed tones applied to a Josephson traveling wave parametric amplifier, a phenomenon also known as intermodulation distortion. The effect becomes particularly significant when the amplifier is operated close to its saturation power. Furthermore, we demonstrate that intermodulation distortion can lead to significant crosstalk and reduction of fidelity for multiplexed readout of superconducting qubits. We suggest using large detunings between the pump and signal frequencies to mitigate crosstalk. Our work provides insights into the limitations of current Josephson traveling wave parametric amplifiers and highlights the importance of performing further research on these devices.

Quantum computers hold the promise of solving computational problems which are intractable using conventional methods. For fault-tolerant operation quantum computers must correct errorsoccurring due to unavoidable decoherence and limited control accuracy. Here, we demonstrate quantum error correction using the surface code, which is known for its exceptionally high tolerance to errors. Using 17 physical qubits in a superconducting circuit we encode quantum information in a distance-three logical qubit building up on recent distance-two error detection experiments. In an error correction cycle taking only 1.1μs, we demonstrate the preservation of four cardinal states of the logical qubit. Repeatedly executing the cycle, we measure and decode both bit- and phase-flip error syndromes using a minimum-weight perfect-matching algorithm in an error-model-free approach and apply corrections in postprocessing. We find a low error probability of 3% per cycle when rejecting experimental runs in which leakage is detected. The measured characteristics of our device agree well with a numerical model. Our demonstration of repeated, fast and high-performance quantum error correction cycles, together with recent advances in ion traps, support our understanding that fault-tolerant quantum computation will be practically realizable.

Quantum computing crucially relies on the ability to efficiently characterize the quantum states output by quantum hardware. Conventional methods which probe these states through directmeasurements and classically computed correlations become computationally expensive when increasing the system size. Quantum neural networks tailored to recognize specific features of quantum states by combining unitary operations, measurements and feedforward promise to require fewer measurements and to tolerate errors. Here, we realize a quantum convolutional neural network (QCNN) on a 7-qubit superconducting quantum processor to identify symmetry-protected topological (SPT) phases of a spin model characterized by a non-zero string order parameter. We benchmark the performance of the QCNN based on approximate ground states of a family of cluster-Ising Hamiltonians which we prepare using a hardware-efficient, low-depth state preparation circuit. We find that, despite being composed of finite-fidelity gates itself, the QCNN recognizes the topological phase with higher fidelity than direct measurements of the string order parameter for the prepared states.

Variational quantum algorithms are believed to be promising for solving computationally hard problems and are often comprised of repeated layers of quantum gates. An example thereofis the quantum approximate optimization algorithm (QAOA), an approach to solve combinatorial optimization problems on noisy intermediate-scale quantum (NISQ) systems. Gaining computational power from QAOA critically relies on the mitigation of errors during the execution of the algorithm, which for coherence-limited operations is achievable by reducing the gate count. Here, we demonstrate an improvement of up to a factor of 3 in algorithmic performance as measured by the success probability, by implementing a continuous hardware-efficient gate set using superconducting quantum circuits. This gate set allows us to perform the phase separation step in QAOA with a single physical gate for each pair of qubits instead of decomposing it into two CZ-gates and single-qubit gates. With this reduced number of physical gates, which scales with the number of layers employed in the algorithm, we experimentally investigate the circuit-depth-dependent performance of QAOA applied to exact-cover problem instances mapped onto three and seven qubits, using up to a total of 399 operations and up to 9 layers. Our results demonstrate that the use of continuous gate sets may be a key component in extending the impact of near-term quantum computers.

The realization of quantum error correction is an essential ingredient for reaching the full potential of fault-tolerant universal quantum computation. Using a range of different schemes,logical qubits can be redundantly encoded in a set of physical qubits. One such scalable approach is based on the surface code. Here we experimentally implement its smallest viable instance, capable of repeatedly detecting any single error using seven superconducting qubits, four data qubits and three ancilla qubits. Using high-fidelity ancilla-based stabilizer measurements we initialize the cardinal states of the encoded logical qubit with an average logical fidelity of 96.1%. We then repeatedly check for errors using the stabilizer readout and observe that the logical quantum state is preserved with a lifetime and coherence time longer than those of any of the constituent qubits when no errors are detected. Our demonstration of error detection with its resulting enhancement of the conditioned logical qubit coherence times in a 7-qubit surface code is an important step indicating a promising route towards the realization of quantum error correction in the surface code.

Fault tolerant quantum computing relies on the ability to detect and correct errors, which in quantum error correction codes is typically achieved by projectively measuring multi-qubitparity operators and by conditioning operations on the observed error syndromes. Here, we experimentally demonstrate the use of an ancillary qubit to repeatedly measure the ZZ and XX parity operators of two data qubits and to thereby project their joint state into the respective parity subspaces. By applying feedback operations conditioned on the outcomes of individual parity measurements, we demonstrate the real-time stabilization of a Bell state with a fidelity of F≈74% in up to 12 cycles of the feedback loop. We also perform the protocol using Pauli frame updating and, in contrast to the case of real-time stabilization, observe a steady decrease in fidelity from cycle to cycle. The ability to stabilize parity over multiple feedback rounds with no reduction in fidelity provides strong evidence for the feasibility of executing stabilizer codes on timescales much longer than the intrinsic coherence times of the constituent qubits.

A robust cryogenic infrastructure in form of a wired, thermally optimized dilution refrigerator is essential for present and future solid-state based quantum processors. Here, we engineeran extensible cryogenic setup, which minimizes passive and active heat loads, while guaranteeing rapid qubit control and readout. We review design criteria for qubit drive lines, flux lines, and output lines used in typical experiments with superconducting circuits and describe each type of line in detail. The passive heat load of stainless steel and NbTi coaxial cables and the active load due to signal dissipation are measured, validating our robust and extensible concept for thermal anchoring of attenuators, cables, and other microwave components. Our results are important for managing the heat budget of future large-scale quantum computers based on superconducting circuits.

The duration and fidelity of qubit readout is a critical factor for applications in quantum information processing as it limits the fidelity of algorithms which reuse qubits after measurementor apply feedback based on the measurement result. Here we present fast multiplexed readout of five qubits in a single 1.2 GHz wide readout channel. Using a readout pulse length of 80 ns and populating readout resonators for less than 250 ns we find an average correct assignment probability for the five measured qubits to be 97%. The differences between the individual readout errors and those found when measuring the qubits simultaneously are within 1%. We employ individual Purcell filters for each readout resonator to suppress off-resonant driving, which we characterize by the dephasing imposed on unintentionally measured qubits. We expect the here presented readout scheme to become particularly useful for the selective readout of individual qubits in multi-qubit quantum processors.