Verifying Parameterized Quantum Circuits

Variational Quantum Algorithms

Variational quantum algorithms are a family of mixed quantum-classical algorithms that try to achieve a quantum advantage via low-depth circuits. This is achieved by offloading a substantial amount of computational work to a classical processor. The quantum circuits employed by variational quantum algorithms involve parameterized gates which depend on some a-priori uninstantiated variable.

Variational quantum algorithms try to optimize the circuit’s parameters in each iteration with the classical post-processor while the quantum circuit is used to compute the cost function that is being optimized. Because recompiling the quantum circuit in each of these iterations is a costly procedure, the circuit is usually compiled in paramterized form in which the parameters tuned by the classical optimization routine are not bound to specific values.

As is the case with parameter-free circuits, errors can be made during the compilation process. Therefore, verifying the correctness of compilations of parameterized quantum circuits is an important task for near-term quantum computing.

Equivalence Checking of Parameterized Quantum Circuits

Having unbound parameters in a quantum circuits brings new challenges to the task of quantum circuit verification as many data structures have difficulty supporting symbolic computations directly. However, ZX-diagrams are an exceptions to this as most rewrite rules used for equivalence checking with the ZX-calculus only involve summation of parameters. The ZX-calculus equivalence checker in QCEC cannot be used to prove non-equivalence of quantum circuits. To still show non-equivalence of parameterized quantum circuits QCEC uses a scheme of repeatedly instantiating a circuits parameters in such a way as to make the check as simple as possible while still guaranteeing that either equivalence or non-equivalence can be proven. The resulting equivalence checking flow looks as follows

Equivalence Checking Flow for Parameterized Quantum Circuits

Using QCEC to Verify Parameterized Quantum Circuits

Consider the following quantum circuit

from qiskit import QuantumCircuit
from qiskit.circuit import Parameter

alpha = Parameter("alpha")
beta = Parameter("beta")

qc_lhs = QuantumCircuit(2)
qc_lhs.rz(alpha, 1), 1)
qc_lhs.rz(beta, 1), 1)
qc_lhs.draw(output="mpl", style="iqp")

A well known commutation rule for the \(R_Z\) gate, states that this circuit is equivalent to the following one

qc_rhs = QuantumCircuit(2), 1)
qc_rhs.rz(beta, 1), 1)
qc_rhs.rz(alpha, 1)
qc_rhs.draw(output="mpl", style="iqp")

This equality can be proved with QCEC by using the verify method just as with any regular circuit

from mqt import qcec

qcec.verify(qc_lhs, qc_rhs)
<EquivalenceCheckingManager.Results: equivalent>

QCEC also manages to show non-equivalence of parameterized quantum circuits. It is easy to erroneously exchange the parameters in the above commutation rule.

qc_rhs_err = QuantumCircuit(2), 1)
qc_rhs_err.rz(alpha, 1), 1)
qc_rhs_err.rz(beta, 1)
qc_rhs_err.draw(output="mpl", style="iqp")

QCEC will tell us that this is incorrect

qcec.verify(qc_lhs, qc_rhs_err)
<EquivalenceCheckingManager.Results: not_equivalent>

Check out the reference documentation documentation for more information.