Characterizing Quantum Supremacy in Near-Term Devices


A critical question for quantum computing in the near future is whether quantum devices without error correction can perform a well-defined computational task beyond the capabilities of supercomputers. Such a demonstration of what is referred to as quantum supremacy requires a reliable evaluation of the resources required to solve tasks with classical approaches. Here, we propose the task of sampling from the output distribution of random quantum circuits as a demonstration of quantum supremacy. We extend previous results in computational complexity to argue that this sampling task must take exponential time in a classical computer. We introduce cross-entropy benchmarking to obtain the experimental fidelity of complex multiqubit dynamics. This can be estimated and extrapolated to give a success metric for a quantum supremacy demonstration. We study the computational cost of relevant classical algorithms and conclude that quantum supremacy can be achieved with circuits in a two-dimensional lattice of 7 × 7 qubits and around 40 clock cycles. This requires an error rate of around 0.5% for two-qubit gates (0.05% for one-qubit gates), and it would demonstrate the basic building blocks for a fault-tolerant quantum computer