Microsoft democratizes quantum computing!

Microsoft just released the Quantum Development Kit, taking a first bold step towards the democratization of quantum computing. Few months ago, the Redmond based company officially published a lot of their internal research and quantum computing roadmap, hence the release of the development kit was an event heavily expected by computer science enthusiasts. With the Quantum Development Kit, developers all around the world can now write quantum computing algorithms dive into deeper into concepts that till now we were able only to speak out to impress everybody around us.

The new released Quantum Development Kit contains the following:

  1. Q# language and compiler. Q# is a domain-specific programming language used for expressing quantum algorithms. It is used for writing sub-programs that execute on an adjunct quantum processor under the control of a classical host program and computer.
  2. Q# standard library. The library contains operations and functions that support both the classical language control requirement and the Q# quantum algorithms.
  3. Local quantum machine simulator. A full state vector simulator optimized for accurate vector simulation and speed.
  4. Quantum computer trace simulator. The trace simulator does not simulate the quantum environment like the local quantum simulator. It is used to estimate the resources required to execute a quantum program and also allow faster debugging of the non-Q# control code.
  5. Visual Studio extension. The extension contains templates for Q# files and projects as well as syntax highlighting. The extension also installs and creates automatic hooks to the compiler.

The quantum machine simulator will run locally and will take advantage of the installed RAM. And here’s some interesting information about the local environment, that helps us grasp the power of quantum computing. On a 16 GB RAM machine you can simulate up to 30 qubits. Simulating one more qubit (31) requires double the memory, so 32 GB RAM. Simulating one less (so 29 qubits) halves the required memory. Simulating 40 qubits requires a thousand times more memory, so roughly speaking 16 TB of RAM. That’s something that we surely can’t run at home.

However, you should be able to use Microsoft Azure (according to Microsoft) to simulate more than 30 qubits. So far information on freely available memory tier for preview developers is not available.

If you want to dive deeper into the theory of quantum computing, you may refer to THIS documentation. Be aware that there’s a lot of linear algebra in there so it’s really not an easy read and I will have to dig deeper into it for myself.

I will also play around this night with the Quantum Development Kit, so you can expect some more article on this topic.

Have fun with quantum computing!

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