Measurements

PennyLane can extract different types of measurement results from quantum devices: the expectation of an observable, its variance, samples of a single measurement, or computational basis state probabilities.

For example, the following circuit returns the expectation value of the PauliZ observable on wire 1:

def my_quantum_function(x, y):
    qml.RZ(x, wires=0)
    qml.CNOT(wires=[0, 1])
    qml.RY(y, wires=1)
    return qml.expval(qml.PauliZ(1))

The available measurement functions are

expval(op)

Expectation value of the supplied observable.

sample(op)

Sample from the supplied observable, with the number of shots determined from the dev.shots attribute of the corresponding device.

var(op)

Variance of the supplied observable.

probs(wires)

Probability of each computational basis state.

Note

All measurement functions support analytic differentiation, with the exception of sample(), as it returns stochastic results.

Combined measurements

Quantum functions can also return combined measurements of multiple observables, as long as each wire is not measured more than once:

def my_quantum_function(x, y):
    qml.RZ(x, wires=0)
    qml.CNOT(wires=[0, 1])
    qml.RY(y, wires=1)
    return qml.expval(qml.PauliZ(1)), qml.var(qml.PauliX(0))

You can also use list comprehensions, and other common Python patterns:

def my_quantum_function(x, y):
    qml.RZ(x, wires=0)
    qml.CNOT(wires=[0, 1])
    qml.RY(y, wires=1)
    return [qml.expval(qml.PauliZ(i)) for i in range(2)]

As a full example of combined measurements, let us look at a Bell state \((|00\rangle + |11\rangle)/\sqrt{2}\), prepared by a Hadamard and CNOT gate.

import pennylane as qml
from pennylane import numpy as np

dev = qml.device("default.qubit", wires=2)

@qml.qnode(dev)
def circuit():
    qml.Hadamard(wires=0)
    qml.CNOT(wires=[0, 1])
    return qml.sample(qml.PauliZ(0)), qml.sample(qml.PauliZ(1))

The combined PauliZ-measurement of the first and second qubit returns a list of two lists, each containing the measurement results of the respective qubit. As a default, sample() returns 1000 samples per observable.

>>> result = circuit()
>>> result.shape
(2, 1000)

Since the two qubits are maximally entangled, the measurement results always coincide, and the lists are therefore equal:

>>> np.all(result[0] == result[1])
True

Tensor observables

PennyLane supports measuring the tensor product of observables, by using the @ notation. For example, to measure the expectation value of \(Z\otimes I \otimes X\):

def my_quantum_function(x, y):
    qml.RZ(x, wires=0)
    qml.CNOT(wires=[0, 1])
    qml.RY(y, wires=1)
    qml.CNOT(wires=[0, 2])
    return qml.expval(qml.PauliZ(0) @ qml.PauliX(2))

Note that we don’t need to declare the identity observable on wire 1; this is implicitly assumed.

The tensor observable notation can be used inside all measurement functions that accept observables as arguments, including expval(), var(), and sample().

Probability

You can also train QNodes on computational basis probabilities, by using the probs() measurement function. Unlike other measurement functions, this does not accept observables. Instead, it will return a flat array or tensor containing the (marginal) probabilities of each quantum state.

def my_quantum_function(x, y):
    qml.RZ(x, wires=0)
    qml.CNOT(wires=[0, 1])
    qml.RY(y, wires=1)
    qml.CNOT(wires=[0, 2])
    return qml.probs(wires=[0, 1])

For example:

>>> dev = qml.device("default.qubit", wires=3)
>>> qnode = qml.QNode(my_quantum_function, dev)
>>> qnode(0.56, 0.1)
array([0.99750208, 0.00249792, 0.        , 0.        ])

The returned probability array uses lexicographical ordering, so corresponds to a \(99.75\%\) probability of measuring state \(|00\rangle\), and a \(0.25\%\) probability of measuring state \(|01\rangle\).

Changing the number of shots

For hardware devices where the number of shots determines the accuracy of the expectation value and variance, as well as the number of samples returned, it can sometimes be convenient to execute the same QNode with differing number of shots.

For simulators like default.qubit, finite shots will be simulated if we set analytic=False in the device.

The shot number can be changed by modifying the value of Device.shots:

dev = qml.device("default.qubit", wires=1, shots=10, analytic=False)

@qml.qnode(dev)
def circuit(x, y):
    qml.RX(x, wires=0)
    qml.RY(y, wires=0)
    return qml.expval(qml.PauliZ(0))

# execute the QNode using 10 shots
result = circuit(0.54, 0.1)

# execute the QNode again, now using 1 shot
dev.shots = 1
result = circuit(0.54, 0.1)

With an increasing number of shots, the average over measurement samples converges to the exact expectation of an observable. Consider the following circuit:

# fix seed to make results reproducable
np.random.seed(1)

dev = qml.device("default.qubit", wires=1)

@qml.qnode(dev)
def circuit():
    qml.Hadamard(wires=0)
    return qml.expval(qml.PauliZ(0))

Running the simulator when analytic is set to True returns the exact expectation.

>>> circuit()
0.0

Now we set the device to return stochastic results, and increase the number of shots starting from 10.

>>> dev.analytic = False
>>> dev.shots = 10
>>> circuit()
0.2
>>> dev.shots = 1000
>>> circuit()
-0.062
>>> dev.shots = 100000
>>> circuit()
0.00056

The result converges to the exact expectation.