The distribution of high-quality Greenberger-Horne-Zeilinger (GHZ) states is at the heart of many quantum communication tasks, ranging from extending the baseline of telescopes to secret sharing. They also play an important role in error-correction architectures for distributed quantum computation, where Bell pairs can be leveraged to create an entangled network of quantum computers. We investigate the creation and distillation of GHZ states out of nonperfect Bell pairs over quantum networks. In particular, we introduce a heuristic dynamic programming algorithm to optimize over a large class of protocols that create and purify GHZ states. All protocols considered use a common framework based on measurements of nonlocal stabilizer operators of the target state (i.e., the GHZ state), where each nonlocal measurement consumes another (nonperfect) entangled state as a resource. The new protocols outperform previous proposals for scenarios without decoherence and local gate noise. Furthermore, the algorithms can be applied for finding protocols for any number of parties and any number of entangled pairs involved.

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