A Scalable, Fast and Programmable Neural Decoder for Fault-Tolerant Quantum Computation Using Surface Codes

by   Mengyu Zhang, et al.

Quantum error-correcting codes (QECCs) can eliminate the negative effects of quantum noise, the major obstacle to the execution of quantum algorithms. However, realizing practical quantum error correction (QEC) requires resolving many challenges to implement a high-performance real-time decoding system. Many decoding algorithms have been proposed and optimized in the past few decades, of which neural network (NNs) based solutions have drawn an increasing amount of attention due to their high efficiency. Unfortunately, previous works on neural decoders are still at an early stage and have only relatively simple architectures, which makes them unsuitable for practical QEC. In this work, we propose a scalable, fast, and programmable neural decoding system to meet the requirements of FTQEC for rotated surface codes (RSC). Firstly, we propose a hardware-efficient NN decoding algorithm with relatively low complexity and high accuracy. Secondly, we develop a customized hardware decoder with architectural optimizations to reduce latency. Thirdly, our proposed programmable architecture boosts the scalability and flexibility of the decoder by maximizing parallelism. Fourthly, we build an FPGA-based decoding system with integrated control hardware for evaluation. Our L=5 (L is the code distance) decoder achieves an extremely low decoding latency of 197 ns, and the L=7 configuration also requires only 1.136 μs, both taking 2L rounds of syndrome measurements. The accuracy results of our system are close to minimum weight perfect matching (MWPM). Furthermore, our programmable architecture reduces hardware resource consumption by up to 3.0× with only a small latency loss. We validated our approach in real-world scenarios by conducting a proof-of-concept benchmark with practical noise models, including one derived from experimental data gathered from physical hardware.


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