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Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics

Given the unprecedented effort by academia and industry (e.g., IBM and Google), quantum computers with hundred(s) of qubits are at the brink of existence with the promise of outperforming any classical computer. Demonstration of computational advantages of noisy near-term quantum computers over classical computers is an imperative near-term goal. The foremost candidate task for showing this is Random Circuit Sampling (RCS), which is the task of sampling from the output distribution of a random circuit. This is exactly the task that recently Google experimentally performed on 53-qubits.

Stockmeyer's theorem implies that efficient sampling allows for estimation of probability amplitudes. Therefore, hardness of probability estimation implies hardness of sampling. We prove that estimating probabilities to within small errors is #P-hard on average (i.e. for random circuits), and put the results in the context of previous works.

Some ingredients developed to make this proof possible are construction of the Cayley path as a rational function valued unitary path that interpolate between two arbitrary unitaries, an extension of Berlekamp-Welch algorithm that efficiently and exactly interpolates rational functions, and construction of probability distributions over unitaries that are arbitrarily close to the Haar measure.
This talk will be delivered remotely. Those wishing to join the broadcast please contact Sergii Strelchuk (

Further information


May 27th 2020
14:15 to 15:15




Ramis Movassagh, IBM Research


CQIF Seminar