Evaluation of Parameterized Quantum Circuits With Cross-Resonance Pulse-Driven Entanglers

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Variational quantum algorithms (VQAs) have emerged as a powerful class of algorithms that is highly suitable for noisy quantum devices. Therefore, investigating their design has become key in quantum computing research. Previous works have shown that choosing an effective parameterized quantum circuit (PQC) or ansatz for a VQA is crucial to its overall performance, especially on near-term devices. In this article, we utilize pulse-level access to quantum machines, our understanding of their two-qubit interactions, and, more importantly, our knowledge of VQAs, to customize the design of two-qubit entanglers. Our analysis shows that utilizing customized pulse gates for ansatze reduces state preparation times by more than half, maintains expressibility relative to standard ansatze, and produces PQCs that are more trainable through local cost function analysis. Our algorithm performance results show that in three cases, our PQC configuration outperforms the base implementation. Experiments using IBM Quantum hardware demonstrate that our pulse-based PQC configurations are more capable of solving MaxCut and chemistry problems compared to a standard configuration.