Stabilizer code over \(GF(4)\)[1] 


An \([[n,k,d]]\) stabilizer code constructed from a quaternary classical code using the one-to-one correspondence between the four Pauli matrices \(\{I,X,Y,Z\}\) and the four elements \(\{0,1,\alpha^2,\alpha\}\) of the quaternary field \(GF(4)\).

An \(n\)-qubit Pauli stabilizer can be represented as a length-\(n\) quaternary vector. The stabilizer commutation condition corresponds to a zero trace-Hermitian inner product between the corresponding vectors. Stabilizer codes over \(GF(4)\) can thus be constructed from classical trace-Hermitian self-orthogonal additive quaternary codes and Hermitian self-orthogonal linear quaternary codes (since the latter are automatically trace-Hermitian self-orthogonal). The classical code corresponds to the stabilizer group \(\mathsf{S}\) while its trace-Hermitian dual corresponds to the normalizer \(\mathsf{N(S)}\).

Stabilizer codes over \(GF(4)\) can be constructed as follows. Let \(\phi\) be a bijection from a linear binary subspace to \(GF(4)^n\). Let \(C\) be a trace-Hermitian self-orthogonal additive subcode over \(GF(4)\), containing \(2^{n-k}\) vectors, such that there are no vectors of weight less than \(d\) in \(C^{\perp}\setminus C\). Then, any eigenspace of the inverse map \(\phi^{-1}(C)\) is an \([[n, k, d]]\) stabilizer code over \(GF(4)\).

Quaternary linear codes are Hermitian self-orthogonal (self-dual) iff they are trace-Hermitian self-orthogonal (self-dual) additive [2; Thm. 27.4.1] ([3; Thm. 9.10.3]). In other words, if the underlying quaternary code is linear, then the extra trace operation can be removed from the definition of inner product.


Detects errors on \(d-1\) qubits, corrects errors on \(\left\lfloor (d-1)/2 \right\rfloor\) qubits.

Fault Tolerance

Characterizing fault-tolerant multi-qubit gates may involve characterizing all global automorphisms of some number of copies of a code that preserve the symplectic inner product [4; pg. 9].


Tables of \([[n,0,d]]\) codes, corresponding to a self-dual \(GF(4)\) representation, at this website.




  • Dual additive code — The stabilizer commutation condition for stabilizer codes over \(GF(4)\) can equivalently be stated in the representation of stabilizers as quaternary vectors. A pair of \(n\)-qubit stabilizers commute iff the trace-Hermitian inner product of their corresponding vectors is zero. Stabilizer codes over \(GF(4)\) can thus be constructed from trace-Hermitian self-orthogonal additive quaternary codes.
  • Qubit BCH code — Hermitian self-orthogonal quaternary BCH codes are used to construct a subset of qubit BCH codes via the stabilizer-over-\(GF(4)\) construction.


A. R. Calderbank et al., “Quantum Error Correction via Codes over GF(4)”, (1997) arXiv:quant-ph/9608006
M. F. Ezerman, "Quantum Error-Control Codes." Concise Encyclopedia of Coding Theory (Chapman and Hall/CRC, 2021) DOI
W. C. Huffman and V. Pless, Fundamentals of Error-Correcting Codes (Cambridge University Press, 2003) DOI
E. M. Rains, “Nonbinary quantum codes”, (1997) arXiv:quant-ph/9703048
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Zoo Code ID: stabilizer_over_gf4

Cite as:
“Stabilizer code over \(GF(4)\)”, The Error Correction Zoo (V. V. Albert & P. Faist, eds.), 2022.
  title={Stabilizer code over \(GF(4)\)},
  booktitle={The Error Correction Zoo},
  editor={Albert, Victor V. and Faist, Philippe},
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“Stabilizer code over \(GF(4)\)”, The Error Correction Zoo (V. V. Albert & P. Faist, eds.), 2022.