Finding efficient decoders for quantum error correcting codes adapted to realistic experimental noise in fault-tolerant devices represents a significant challenge. In this paper we introduce several decoding algorithms complemented by deep neural decoders and apply them to analyze several fault-tolerant error correction protocols such as the surface code as well as Steane and Knill error correction. Our methods require no knowledge of the underlying noise model afflicting the quantum device making them appealing for real-world experiments. Our analysis is based on a full circuit-level noise model. It considers both distance-three and five codes, and is performed near the codes pseudo-threshold regime. Training deep neural decoders in low noise rate regimes appears to be a challenging machine learning endeavour. We provide a detailed description of our neural network architectures and training methodology. We then discuss both the advantages and limitations of deep neural decoders. Lastly, we provide a rigorous analysis of the decoding runtime of trained deep neural decoders and compare our methods with anticipated gate times in future quantum devices. Given the broad applications of our decoding schemes, we believe that the methods presented in this paper could have practical applications for near term fault-tolerant experiments.
We explore a distance-3 homological CSS quantum code, namely the small stellated dodecahedron code, for dense storage of quantum information and we compare its performance with the distance-3 surface code. The data and ancilla qubits of the small stellated dodecahedron code can be located on the edges resp. vertices of a small stellated dodecahedron, making this code suitable for 3D connectivity. This code encodes 8 logical qubits into 30 physical qubits (plus 22 ancilla qubits for parity check measurements) as compared to 1 logical qubit into 9 physical qubits (plus 8 ancilla qubits) for the surface code. We develop fault-tolerant parity check circuits and a decoder for this code, allowing us to numerically assess the circuit-based pseudo-threshold.