The resources required to characterize the dynamics of engineered quantum systems-such as quantum computers and quantum sensors-grow exponentially with system size. Here we adapt techniques from compressive sensing to exponentially reduce the experimental configurations required for quantum process tomography. Our method is applicable to processes that are nearly sparse in a certain basis and can be implemented using only single-body preparations and measurements. We perform efficient, high-fidelity estimation of process matrices of a photonic two-qubit logic gate. The database is obtained under various decoherence strengths. Our technique is both accurate and noise robust, thus removing a key roadblock to the development and scaling of quantum technologies.
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