Last year saw the first quantum computers realized that can be programmed from a high level user interface to run arbitrary quantum algorithms [1,2]. While these devices are still small in scale, only comprising a handful of qubits each, they nevertheless allow the implementation of quantum circuits in a way that is basically blind to the underlying hardware itself. This constitutes a new level of development in quantum computer technology for the two leading approaches, trapped atomic ions [1] and superconducting circuits [3]. It also gives us the opportunity to test quantum computers irrespective of their particular physical implementation for the first time. With multiple companies (IBM, Google, Microsoft, as well as several start-ups) aiming for a larger scale device of commercial viability in the near future, benchmarking quantum computers becomes a crucial pursuit and this work is a step in that direction.

© 2017 IEEE

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