Automating quantum experiment control

From circuit compilation to ion routing
  • Kelly E. Stevens
  • Jason M. Amini
  • S. Charles Doret
  • Greg Mohler
  • Curtis Volin
  • Alexa W. Harter
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Trapped Ion Quantum Information Processing


The field of quantum information processing is rapidly advancing. As the control of quantum systems approaches the level needed for useful computation, the physical hardware underlying the quantum systems is becoming increasingly complex. It is already becoming impractical to manually code control for the larger hardware implementations. In this chapter, we will employ an approach to the problem of system control that parallels compiler design for a classical computer. We will start with a candidate quantum computing technology, the surface electrode ion trap, and build a system instruction language which can be generated from a simple machine-independent programming language via compilation. We incorporate compile time generation of ion routing that separates the algorithm description from the physical geometry of the hardware. Extending this approach to automatic routing at run time allows for automated initialization of qubit number and placement and additionally allows for automated recovery after catastrophic events such as qubit loss. To show that these systems can handle real hardware, we present a simple demonstration system that routes two ions around a multi-zone ion trap and handles ion loss and ion placement. While we will mainly use examples from transport-based ion trap quantum computing, many of the issues and solutions are applicable to other architectures.


Quantum computation Ion trap Circuit compilation Hardware control Scaling 



This material is based upon work supported by the Georgia Tech Research Institute and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) under US Army Research Office (ARO) contract W911NF081-0315 and W911NF101-0231. All statements of fact, opinion, or conclusions contained herein are those of the authors and should not be construed as representing the official views or policies of IARPA, the ODNI, or the US Government.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Quantum Systems Group, Advanced Concepts LaboratoryGeorgia Tech Research InstituteAtlantaUSA
  2. 2.Department of PhysicsWilliams CollegeWilliamstownUSA

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