Quantitative Robustness Analysis of Quantum Programs (Extended Version). (arXiv:1811.03585v1 [cs.PL])

Quantum computation is a topic of significant recent interest, with practical
advances coming from both research and industry. A major challenge in quantum
programming is dealing with errors (quantum noise) during execution. Because
quantum resources (e.g., qubits) are scarce, classical error correction
techniques applied at the level of the architecture are currently
cost-prohibitive. But while this reality means that quantum programs are almost
certain to have errors, there as yet exists no principled means to reason about
erroneous behavior. This paper attempts to fill this gap by developing a
semantics for erroneous quantum while-programs, as well as a logic for
reasoning about them. This logic permits proving a property we have identified,
called $\epsilon$-robustness, which characterizes possible "distance" between
an ideal program and an erroneous one. We have proved the logic sound, and
showed its utility on several case studies, notably: (1) analyzing the
robustness of noisy versions of the quantum Bernoulli factory (QBF) and quantum
walk (QW); (2) demonstrating the (in)effectiveness of different error
correction schemes on single-qubit errors; and (3) analyzing the robustness of
a fault-tolerant version of QBF.

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