The Multiple-Control Toffoli (mct) gate takes as input: 1. a register containing the control qubits, 2. the target qubits and 3. a register containing ancilla qubits.

I don't know how many ancilla qubits I need to pass in for a number of $n$ controll qubits. I've seen examples and used mct gates with 4 control qubits and 2 ancillas so I know the number of ancillas is not $n-1$ like suggested in this answer

Is there a strict dependency meaning for 10 control qubits you need 5 ancillas or does the implementation adapt to the number or ancillas that are passed in?


2 Answers 2


I found out the number of ancillas is minimum $n-2$.

I found this line in the Qiskit source code of mct:

if len(ancillary_qubits) < len(control_qubits) - 2:
    raise AquaError('Insufficient number of ancillary qubits.')
  • $\begingroup$ Im new to QC so this may be a trivial question; Why use more than one ancilla? Im using the mct gate for my 6 qubit grover's algorithm circuit and the gate works just fine with just 1 ancilla... unless I am doing something wrong. Thanks in advance. $\endgroup$
    – James Bian
    Jun 22, 2021 at 13:40
  • $\begingroup$ In Qiskit, it seems fine even if I don't specify any ancilla qubit. For example, Minh Pham's answer (see below) doesn't cause an error. $\endgroup$
    – LearnerAL
    Jan 4 at 23:34

You don't need to use any ancillas at all. Just add in the controls as a list and a target and you should be good.

Take this as an example of 9 control bits

enter image description here

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ It forces you to put in atleast 1 ancilla when the control gate gets bigger than 5. $\endgroup$
    – James Bian
    Jun 22, 2021 at 13:39

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