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Here's my quantum circuit with mid-circuit measurements:

qr = QuantumRegister(1, 'q')
cr = ClassicalRegister(1, 'c')
base_circ = QuantumCircuit(qr, cr)
for i in range(N):
    base_circ.measure(0,0)
    base_circ.barrier()
base_circ.draw()

enter image description here

I wonder is there a method in qiskit that allows me to insert quantum gates at certain indices? For example, in this case, can I add another instruction to add two x gates before the first two measurements (one for each)? I found this post might be helpful, but I'm not able to implement instructions like qc.h(anc[0],i=6) or circuit.gate(qubit).at(index) in my case as it returns errors. Thanks so much for the help!

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  • 2
    $\begingroup$ If you read till the end of the issue you linked in the description: github.com/Qiskit/qiskit-terra/issues/4736, you will see that this feature is currently is not supported in Qiskit and won't be introduced unless there is a strong use case for such actions: github.com/Qiskit/qiskit-terra/issues/… $\endgroup$ Jan 7, 2022 at 9:13
  • $\begingroup$ @Junye Huang Thank you! $\endgroup$
    – ZR-
    Jan 7, 2022 at 15:35
  • $\begingroup$ @ZR- this is currently supported with circuit.data.insert $\endgroup$
    – Bebotron
    Oct 6, 2023 at 23:28

3 Answers 3

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Update

In Qiskit 0.37, the internal data structure of the QuantumCircuit.data attribute has been refactored. Instead of a list of tuples, it becomes a list of CircuitInstruction objects.

Code has been updated to reflect this change.


From my experience, most of the time you can restructure your code to avoid the need for inserting gates in the middle of a circuit.

That said, if you already know the insertion points at the time of circuit creation but you don't know the gates to be inserted, you can add placeholders at these places and replace them later with whatever gates you want.

from qiskit import QuantumCircuit
from qiskit.circuit import Instruction
from qiskit.circuit import CircuitInstruction
from typing import Union

class Placeholder(Instruction):
    def __init__(self, num_qubits, label):
        self.name = "placeholder"
        super().__init__(self.name, num_qubits, 0, [], label = label)

    def inverse(self):
        return Placeholder(self.name, self.num_qubits)

# This function accepts a QuantumCircuit in addition to single instructions
# Note: you can modify it to accept a dictionary of label-instruction pairs.
def replace(self, placeholder_label, instruction: Union[Instruction, QuantumCircuit]):
    if isinstance(instruction, QuantumCircuit):
        instruction = instruction.to_instruction()

    self._data = [CircuitInstruction(instruction, _inst[1], _inst[2]) if _inst[0].name == 'placeholder' and _inst[0].label == placeholder_label else _inst for _inst in self._data]

QuantumCircuit.replace = replace

As an example, let's create a new circuit with some placeholders

circ = QuantumCircuit(2)
circ.h(0)
circ.x(1)
circ.cx(0, 1)
circ.append(Placeholder(2, 'First'), [0, 1])
circ.cx(1, 0)
circ.append(Placeholder(1, 'Second'), [0])
circ.measure_all()
circ.draw('mpl')

enter image description here

Now, let's replace these placeholders with actual gates:

from qiskit.circuit.library import HGate, SwapGate

circ.replace('First', SwapGate())
circ.replace('Second', HGate())
circ.draw('mpl')

The final circuit should look like enter image description here

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the answer! The code returns NameError: name 'Instruction' is not defined. Is there a way to fix that? $\endgroup$
    – ZR-
    Jan 16, 2022 at 23:48
  • $\begingroup$ I updated my answer so that the code snippets include all the needed imports $\endgroup$ Jan 17, 2022 at 5:50
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the update, I still get a ​TypeError: __init__() got an unexpected keyword argument 'label'. When I delete the label, it shows the circuit but all labels are 'Placeholder'. $\endgroup$
    – ZR-
    Jan 17, 2022 at 17:52
  • $\begingroup$ What version do you have for qiskit? Instruction didn't support labels before version 0.28 $\endgroup$ Jan 17, 2022 at 18:49
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I meant by my note that the function can be modified to accept QuantumCircuits . I updated the function definition. Now, it does accept QuantumCircuits in addition to Instructions. You can give it a try and tell me if you face any issues. $\endgroup$ May 14, 2022 at 19:35
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The short answer is no, there is no way to insert gates in a middle of a circuit.

As explained, the issue https://github.com/Qiskit/qiskit-terra/issues/4736 has a longer explanation on why not.

The mid size explanation is the following: generally speaking, a circuit is not a sequence of instructions and, therefore, there is no indices to insert things in. A circuit is more like a directed acyclic graph where the gates are nodes and the edges are dependency relation on qubits. It is very hard to define an API that is simple but expressive enough to refer to an unambiguous position in it.

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The method you are looking for is circuit.data.insert. Some simple examples are detailed in this paper. For your example, we have:

from qiskit import QuantumRegister, ClassicalRegister, QuantumCircuit

qr = QuantumRegister(1, 'q')
cr = ClassicalRegister(1, 'c')
base_circ = QuantumCircuit(qr, cr)
for i in range(3):
    base_circ.measure(0,0)
    base_circ.barrier()
base_circ.draw()

Output:
     ┌─┐ ░ ┌─┐ ░ ┌─┐ ░ 
  q: ┤M├─░─┤M├─░─┤M├─░─
     └╥┘ ░ └╥┘ ░ └╥┘ ░ 
c: 1/═╩═════╩═════╩════
      0     0     0    

Note that as mentioned in another answer, this circuit is just a list of CircuitInstruction types

print(base_circ.data)

Output:
[CircuitInstruction(operation=Instruction(name='x', num_qubits=1, num_clbits=0, params=[]), qubits=(Qubit(QuantumRegister(1, 'q'), 0),), clbits=()), CircuitInstruction(operation=Instruction(name='measure', num_qubits=1, num_clbits=1, params=[]), qubits=(Qubit(QuantumRegister(1, 'q'), 0),), clbits=(Clbit(ClassicalRegister(1, 'c'), 0),)), CircuitInstruction(operation=Instruction(name='barrier', num_qubits=1, num_clbits=0, params=[]), qubits=(Qubit(QuantumRegister(1, 'q'), 0),), clbits=()), CircuitInstruction(operation=Instruction(name='x', num_qubits=1, num_clbits=0, params=[]), qubits=(Qubit(QuantumRegister(1, 'q'), 0),), clbits=()), CircuitInstruction(operation=Instruction(name='measure', num_qubits=1, num_clbits=1, params=[]), qubits=(Qubit(QuantumRegister(1, 'q'), 0),), clbits=(Clbit(ClassicalRegister(1, 'c'), 0),)), CircuitInstruction(operation=Instruction(name='barrier', num_qubits=1, num_clbits=0, params=[]), qubits=(Qubit(QuantumRegister(1, 'q'), 0),), clbits=()), CircuitInstruction(operation=Instruction(name='measure', num_qubits=1, num_clbits=1, params=[]), qubits=(Qubit(QuantumRegister(1, 'q'), 0),), clbits=(Clbit(ClassicalRegister(1, 'c'), 0),)), CircuitInstruction(operation=Instruction(name='barrier', num_qubits=1, num_clbits=0, params=[]), qubits=(Qubit(QuantumRegister(1, 'q'), 0),), clbits=())]

And so inserting operations is just a matter of inserting CircuitInstruction objects to this list. Now there might be a better way to do this, but if I wanted to insert an X gate before the first two measures, I'd first declare a circuit that is just an X gate, and then insert that as a CircuitInstruction with the built-in methods.

x_gate = QuantumCircuit(1)
x_gate.x(0)
base_circ.data.insert(0, x_gate.data[0])
base_circ.data.insert(3, x_gate.data[0])
base_circ.draw()

Output:
     ┌───┐┌─┐ ░ ┌───┐┌─┐ ░ ┌─┐ ░ 
  q: ┤ X ├┤M├─░─┤ X ├┤M├─░─┤M├─░─
     └───┘└╥┘ ░ └───┘└╥┘ ░ └╥┘ ░ 
c: 1/══════╩══════════╩═════╩════
           0          0     0    

Note that after the first insertion, your indices change. So as long as you keep tabs of where you are trying to insert operations you should be fine. Also note that the qubits field in CircuitInstruction need to match with the circuit you're trying to insert. Meaning that if you do it the way I showed here, the QuantumCircuit for the single X gate needs to be of the same register size.

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