Experimental Pauli-frame randomization on a superconducting qubit
The promise of quantum computing with imperfect qubits relies on the ability of a quantum computing system to scale cheaply through error correction and fault tolerance. While fault tolerance requires relatively mild assumptions about the nature of qubit errors, the overhead associated with coherent and non-Markovian errors can be orders of magnitude larger than the overhead associated with purely stochastic Markovian errors. One proposal to address this challenge is to randomize the circuits of interest, shaping the errors to be stochastic Pauli errors but leaving the aggregate computation unaffected. The randomization technique can also suppress couplings to slow degrees of freedom associated with non-Markovian evolution. Here, we demonstrate the implementation of Pauli-frame randomization in a superconducting circuit system, exploiting a flexible programming and control infrastructure to achieve this with low effort. We use high-accuracy gate-set tomography to characterize in detail the properties of the circuit error, with and without the randomization procedure, which allows us to make rigorous statements about Markovianity as well as the nature of the observed errors. We demonstrate that randomization suppresses signatures of non-Markovian evolution to statistically insignificant levels, from a Markovian model violation ranging from 43σ to 1987σ, down to violations between 0.3σ and 2.7σ under randomization. Moreover, we demonstrate that, under randomization, the experimental errors are well described by a Pauli error model, with model violations that are similarly insignificant (between 0.8σ and 2.7σ). Importantly, all these improvements in the model accuracy were obtained without degradation to fidelity, and with some improvements to error rates as quantified by the diamond norm. This demonstrates the ability of Pauli-frame randomization to shape noise into forms that are more benign for quantum error correction and fault tolerance.