We prove the expected disturbance caused to a quantum system by a sequence of randomly ordered two-outcome projective measurements is upper bounded by the square root of the probability that at least one measurement in the sequence accepts. We call this bound the Gentle Random Measurement Lemma.

We then extend the techniques used to prove this lemma to develop protocols for problems in which we are given sample access to an unknown state ρ and asked to estimate properties of the accepting probabilities Tr[M_i ρ] of a set of measurements {M₁, M₂, … , M_m}. We call these types of problems Quantum Event Learning Problems. In particular, we show randomly ordering projective measurements solves the Quantum OR problem, answering an open question of Aaronson. We also give a Quantum OR protocol which works on non-projective measurements and which outperforms both the random measurement protocol analyzed in this paper and the protocol of Harrow, Lin, and Montanaro. However, this protocol requires a more complicated type of measurement, which we call a Blended Measurement. Given additional guarantees on the set of measurements {M₁, …, M_m}, we show the random and blended measurement Quantum OR protocols developed in this paper can also be used to find a measurement M_i such that Tr[M_i ρ] is large. We call the problem of finding such a measurement Quantum Event Finding. We also show Blended Measurements give a sample-efficient protocol for Quantum Mean Estimation: a problem in which the goal is to estimate the average accepting probability of a set of measurements on an unknown state.

Finally we consider the Threshold Search Problem described by O'Donnell and Bădescu where, given given a set of measurements {M₁, …, M_m} along with sample access to an unknown state ρ satisfying Tr[M_i ρ] ≥ 1/2 for some M_i, the goal is to find a measurement M_j such that Tr[M_j ρ] ≥ 1/2 - ε. By building on our Quantum Event Finding result we show that randomly ordered (or blended) measurements can be used to solve this problem using O(log²(m) / ε²) copies of ρ. This matches the performance of the algorithm given by O'Donnell and Bădescu, but does not require injected noise in the measurements. Consequently, we obtain an algorithm for Shadow Tomography which matches the current best known sample complexity (i.e. requires Õ(log²(m)log(d)/ε⁴) samples). This algorithm does not require injected noise in the quantum measurements, but does require measurements to be made in a random order, and so is no longer online.