Fault-tolerant quantum computation: Theory and practice

Christophe Vuillot

Research output: ThesisDissertation (TU Delft)

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Quantumcomputation is the modern version of Schrödinger’s cat experiment. It is backed up in principle by the theory and thinking about it can make people equally uncomfortable and excited. Besides, its practical realization seems so extremely challenging that some people even doubt it is possible. On the other hand, we are nowadays much closer to realizing quantum computation and in addition, it has much more implications than Schrödinger’s original cat experiment. One of the major difficulties in realizing quantum computation is the inevitable presence of noise in realistic quantum devices which makes the direct realization of quantum computers impossible. In order to protect quantum information and quantum processes against noise, quantum error correction and fault-tolerance have been devised. Although the gap between experiments and the requirements of fault-tolerance is still daunting, the field of quantum error correction and fault-tolerance extends and influences architectural decisions from the hardware to the ideal quantum programs that we want to run. That is why it has the potential to make or break the practicality of quantum computation and a lot of research effort goes into this field. In this thesis we investigate and improve several aspects of fault-tolerant schemes and quantum error correction. We implement an experiment which validates on a small device the usefulness of fault-tolerance for quantum computation. We investigate the advantages of harnessing quantum continuous degrees of freedom present in the lab to protect discrete quantum information in a scalable way. We establish a framework to analyze the fault-tolerant properties of code deformation techniques which are versatile techniques to process quantum information protected by an error correcting code. We also present some novel code deformation techniques with the potential to increase reliability. Finally we define a new class of quantum error correcting codes, quantum pin codes, with built in capabilities for fault-tolerant quantum gates. We give some practical constructions and show some protocols with interesting parameters. The roads towards universal and fault-tolerant quantum computation are still steep but research efforts are pushing in the right directions.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Delft University of Technology
  • Terhal, B.M., Supervisor
Award date15 Jan 2020
Print ISBNs978-94-6384-097-2
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • quantum computing
  • quantum error correction
  • fault-tolerance


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