Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Emanuel Knill

Second Advisor

Dietrich Leibfried

Third Advisor

Murray Holland

Fourth Advisor

Michael Hermele

Fifth Advisor

Vanja Dukic


Randomized benchmarking is an experimental procedure intended to demonstrate control of quantum systems. The procedure extracts the average error introduced by a set of control operations. When the target set of operations is intended to be the set of Clifford operators, the randomized benchmarking algorithm is particularly easy to perform and its results have an important interpretation with respect to quantum computation. The aim of the benchmark is to provide a simple, useful parameter describing the quality of quantum control with an experiment that can be performed in a standard way on any prospective quantum computer. This parameter can be used to fairly compare different experiments or to mark improvement in a single experiment.

In this thesis I discuss first the original randomized-benchmarking procedure and the importance of the Clifford operators for its implementation. I develop the statistical analysis of the results and the physical assumptions that are required for the simplest analysis to apply. The original procedure does not extend in an obvious way to benchmarking of more than one qubit, so I introduce a standardized procedure for randomized benchmarking that applies to any number of qubits. This new procedure also enables the benchmarking of an individual control operation. I describe two randomized-benchmarking experiments I helped to design: one involved a single qubit and utilized a variation of the original procedure and the second involved two qubits and demonstrated the new procedure. I conclude with several potential extensions to the original and new procedures that give them reduced experimental overhead, the ability to describe encoded operations, and fairer comparisons between experiments.