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Heuristics in quantum error correction

Rigby, A ORCID: 0000-0001-6041-8538 2020 , 'Heuristics in quantum error correction', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

Noise is a major obstacle in the development of practical schemes for quantum computation and communication. Similar to the case of classical communication, this noise can be protected against by employing a code, which provides a means for encoding quantum states prior to transmission and allows for errors to be inferred, and hopefully corrected, by a decoder at the receiver. Unfortunately, designing good codes and decoders is typically a difficult problem. This thesis focuses on developing low-complexity heuristic approaches to three such problems: the design of modified belief propagation decoders for quantum low-density parity-check codes, the design of stabilizer codes for asymmetric channels, and the design of codeword stabilized codes.
Quantum low-density parity-check codes are stabilizer codes with low-weight generators. Such codes permit low-complexity decoding via the use of belief propagation, which is an iterative message passing algorithm that takes place on a factor graph defined by the code. However, the performance of such a decoder is limited both by code structure and the degenerate nature of quantum errors. To overcome these limitations, at least in part, a number of modifications to belief propagation are developed. Central among these is the augmented decoder, which in the case of a decoding error, iteratively reattempts decoding using modified factor graph. This heuristic modification simply involves the duplication of a randomly selected subset of the graph’s check nodes, which are in one-to-one correspondence with the code’s stabilizer generators. Across a range of codes, it is shown that the decoders developed perform as well as or better than other modified decoders presented in literature.
For a number of channels of physical interest, phase-flip errors occur far more frequently than bit-flip errors. When transmitting across these so-called asymmetric channels, the decoding error rate can be minimized by tailoring the code used to the channel. However, assessing the performance of codes on a given channel is made difficult by the #P-completeness of optimal decoding. To address this complexity, it is shown that the decoding error rate can be accurately approximated using only a small fraction of the possible errors caused by the channel. This approximation is then used to identify a number of cyclic stabilizer codes that perform well on two different asymmetric channels. To further build on this, a heuristic is demonstrated for assessing code performance based on the decoding error rate of an associated classical code. The complexity of calculating this classical error rate is relatively low, and it is shown that it can be used as the basis for a hill-climbing search algorithm. Such searches have yielded a large number of highly performant codes satisfying various structure constraints.
The family of codeword stabilized codes encompasses both the stabilizer codes as well as many of the best known nonadditive codes. Constructing a standard form codeword stabilized code is a matter of selecting a simple undirected graph and a binary classical code. This makes designing optimal codes difficult as the number of possible graphs grows exponentially with code length, and the clique search required to construct the classical code is NP-hard. To address the exponential growth of the search space, a heuristic is developed for assessing graphs. This heuristic is then employed by a genetic algorithm that also makes use of a novel crossover operation based on spectral bisection, which is show to be superior to more standard crossover operations. With a graph selected, it is demonstrated that the complexity of the clique search required to construct the associated classical code can be mitigated through the use of a heuristic clique finding algorithm. A number of best known codes are presented that have been found using this approach.

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Rigby, A
Keywords: Quantum error correction, quantum information, coding theory
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Copyright 2020 the author

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