Mapping Quantum Circuits to IBM QX Architectures Using the Minimal Number of SWAP and H Operations

Symbolic formulation


The recent progress in the physical realization of quantum computers (the first publicly available ones—IBM’s QX architectures—have been launched in 2017) has motivated research on automatic methods that aid users in running quantum circuits on them. Here, certain physical constraints given by the architectures which restrict the allowed interactions of the involved qubits have to be satisfied. Thus far, this has been addressed by inserting SWAP and H operations. However, it remains unknown whether existing methods add a minimum number of SWAP and H operations or, if not, how far they are away from that minimum—an NP-complete problem. In this work, we address this by formulating the mapping task as a symbolic optimization problem that is solved using reasoning engines like Boolean satisfiability solvers. By this, we do not only provide a method that maps quantum circuits to IBM’s QX architectures with a minimal number of SWAP and H operations, but also show by experimental evaluation that the number of operations added by IBM’s heuristic solution exceeds the lower bound by more than 100% on average. An implementation of the proposed methodology is publicly available at

In Design Automation Conference
Lukas Burgholzer
Lukas Burgholzer
PhD Student

My research interests include design automation for quantum computing, decision diagrams, and in particular equivalence checking of quantum circuits