What I Learned From Fire Opal…

Brian N. Siegelwax
2 min readApr 29, 2022

…is that I gotta have more Fire Opal….

I recently wrote an article titled, “Q-CTRL’s Fire Opal is Awesome.” The TL;DR of it is that I gave the Fire Opal team deep circuits that produce sheer noise on NISQ devices and they returned to me practical results from NISQ devices. How’d they do it? They reveal a few of their secrets in the article “Firing Up Quantum Algorithms — Boosting Performance Up To 9,000X With Autonomous Error Suppression” by Q-CTRL CEO Prof. Michael Biercuk.

While waiting for Fire Opal’s official release, I have been working on an algorithm that generates deep circuits that have to run on NISQ devices. I’ve been throwing the kitchen sink at this algorithm:

  • circuit optimizers
  • qubit assignment optimizers
  • measurement error mitigators
  • and, a few other classical programming tricks

The end result is noise. The classical programming tricks are actually providing the greatest benefits.

My apologies for not naming the libraries I’m using, but I’m still searching for more tools and the best combination of tools in hopes of mitigating the noise as much as possible. But, as I tell my collaborator, if I could completely solve the noise problem we’d have one heck of a paper to write.

It’s worth stressing that I’m using these tools together. I’m not just trying them individually to see which works the best. Many of them are, in fact, intended to work together. And, despite all this effort to minimize circuit depth and CNOT usage, I still can’t generate results near the level of Fire Opal.

It’s also worth noting the difference in approaches between using Fire Opal and trying to mimic it. First of all, each library requires individual troubleshooting in order to implement it. And, then there’s the question of which order they should be executed in. Furthermore, conflicts between the libraries have to be troubleshot. For example, a circuit might have to be decomposed once or twice before it can be passed to another library. Needless too say, using one Fire Opal library would not only be more effective, it would also be much easier.


I gotta have more Fire Opal.

To learn more about Fire Opal, visit

If you don’t get why the featured image of this article is a musician with a cowbell, enjoy: