2017 is about to end and that day has come. Microsoft has unveiled a free version of its Quantum Development Kit (Get started here). The kit includes a quantum computing simulator, Q# programming language (pronounced “Q Sharp”), and other resources to get started with.
Microsoft’s description of Q# calls it “a domain-specific programming language used for expressing quantum algorithms. It is to be used for writing sub-programs that execute on an adjunct quantum processor, under the control of a classical host program and computer.”
In case you wish to learn how to program a quantum computer using Q# programming language, you’d find yourself at home if you’re acquainted with Microsoft Visual Studio. Q# is deeply integrated with the same.
Using the quantum simulator, which is a part of the kit, you can simulate a quantum computer of about 30 logical qubits on your laptop. So, you don’t need to be dependant on some remote server. In case you’re willing to push the boundaries and simulate more than 40 logical qubits, you can use an Azure-based simulator.
It’s worth noting that Redmond is competing with the likes of Google and IBM to develop real-life quantum computers that are more powerful than a handful of qubits. When Microsoft would be able to create a general-purpose quantum computer, the applications created via this kit would be supported.
“The beauty of it is that this code won’t need to change when we plug it into the quantum hardware,” Krysta Svore, a principal researcher at Microsoft, said.
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