Distributed quantum applications impose requirements on the quality of the quantum states that they consume. When analyzing architecture implementations of quantum hardware, characterizing this quality forms an important factor in understanding their performance. Fundamental characteristics of quantum hardware lead to inherent tradeoffs between the quality of states and traditional performance metrics such as throughput. Furthermore, any real-world implementation of quantum hardware exhibits time-dependent noise that degrades the quality of quantum states over time. Here, we study the performance of two possible architectures for interfacing a quantum processor with a quantum network. The first corresponds to the current experimental state of the art in which the same device functions both as a processor and a network device. The second corresponds to a future architecture that separates these two functions over two distinct devices. We model these architectures as continuous-time Markov chains and compare their quality of executing quantum operations and producing entangled quantum states as functions of their memory lifetimes, as well as the time that it takes to perform various operations within each architecture. As an illustrative example, we apply our analysis to architectures based on Nitrogen-Vacancy centers in diamond, where we find that for present-day device parameters one architecture is more suited to computation-heavy applications, and the other for network-heavy ones. We validate our analysis with the quantum network simulator NetSquid. Besides the detailed study of these architectures, a novel contribution of our work are several formulas that connect an understanding of waiting time distributions to the decay of quantum quality over time for the most common noise models employed in quantum technologies. This provides a valuable new tool for performance evaluation experts, and its applications extend beyond the two architectures studied in this work.
- Markov chain
- Quantum architecture