Matthew Amy, PhD candidate
David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science
The design and compilation of correct, efficient quantum circuits is integral to the future operation of quantum computers. This thesis makes contributions to the problems of optimizing and verifying quantum circuits, with an emphasis on the development of formal models for such purposes. We also present software implementations of these methods, which together form a full stack of tools for the design of optimized, formally verified quantum oracles.
On the optimization side, we study methods for the optimization of Rz and CNOT gates in Clifford+Rz circuits. We develop a general, efficient optimization algorithm called phase folding, which reduces the number of Rz gates without increasing any metrics by computing its phase polynomial. This algorithm can further be combined with synthesis techniques for CNOT-dihedral operators to optimize circuits with respect to particular costs. We then study the optimal synthesis problem for CNOT-dihedral operators from the perspectives of Rz and CNOT gate optimization. In the case of Rz gate optimization, we show that the optimal synthesis problem is polynomial-time equivalent to minimum-distance decoding in certain Reed-Muller codes. For the CNOT optimization problem, we show that the optimal synthesis problem is at least as hard as a combinatorial problem related to Gray codes. In both cases, we develop heuristics for the optimal synthesis problem, which together with phase folding reduces T counts by 42% and CNOT counts by 21% across a suite of real-world benchmarks.
From the perspective of formal verification, we make two contributions. The first is the development of a novel formal model of quantum circuits with ancillary bits, along with a concrete verification algorithm. The formal model is based on the Feynman path integral, and with some syntactic sugar forms a natural specification language for quantum circuits. Our experiments show some practical circuits with up to hundreds of qubits can be efficiently verified. Our second contribution is a formally verified, optimizing compiler for reversible circuits. The compiler compiles a classical, irreversible language to reversible circuits, with a formal, machine-checked proof of correctness written in the proof assistant F*. The compiler is structured as a partial evaluator, allowing verification to be carried out significantly faster than previous results.