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Microsoft readies dev kit, Q# language for quantum computing

Microsoft is offering a developer kit to help get started in quantum computing and using the company’s quantum-focused Q# programming language.

Microsoft has been bullish lately on quantum computing, with CEO Satya Nadella recently calling these computers the future. A quantum computer can solve complex problems in hours or days, compared to classical computers that would take billions of years, the company said. Microsoft sees quantum computing having major implications in areas such as health care, energy, and environmental systems.

The features in the Microsoft Quantum Development Kit

The Microsoft Quantum Development Kit, launched in beta form on December 11, is anchored by Q# (pronounced “q sharp”),  featuring a native type system for qubits, which is the quantum analog of a bit. The type system also supports operators and other abstractions. Q# has been integrated with the Visual Studio IDE.

The quantum developer kit also has simulators for local and Azure cloud deployment. The local simulator enables debugging for quantum applications written in Q#, including the setting of breakpoints. The cloud simulator works with simulations requiring more than 40 qubits. A trace simulator in the kit helps optimize code to run on a quantum computer. Also included in the kit are libraries, samples, and tutorials for building quantum solutions.

Q# is a domain-specific language for expressing quantum algorithms. Its features include:

  • The ability for developers to write subprograms executing on an adjunct quantum processor while being controlled by a classical host program.
  • A standard library with operations supporting classical language control and Q# quantum algorithms.

Where to download the Microsoft Quantum Development Kit

Developers can download the developer kit from the Microsoft Quantum website after filling out a form requiring contact information and answers to other questions.

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