IT&Software

Microsoft's Q# quantum programming language out now in preview

Microsoft's Q# quantum programming language out now in preview

Microsoft has today released a preview of its Quantum Development Kit, to "empower developers in the quantum revolution".

Microsoft says this could include breakthroughs in artificial intelligence to get computers to recognise things, with language and image recognition possible, while the idea of quantum teleportation makes it possible for data to appear at the exact same time as something else, potentially speeding computers up immeasurably. The industry giant also launched a quantum simulator that developers can use to test and debug their quantum algorithms.

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.

"It's deeply integrated into Visual Studio, Microsoft's suite of developer tools, so aspects of it will be familiar to people who are already developing applications in other programming languages", wrote Microsoft representative Allison Linn in a December 11 announcement.

Those interested can download the kit from the Microsoft website. For simulations requiring over 40 qubits, Microsoft has provided a cloud-based simulation environment in Azure, which helps in optimise the code and get an idea of the kind of resources necessary to deploy the solution. When Microsoft would be able to create a general-purpose quantum computer, the applications created via this kit would be supported. The dev kit also comes alongside a "comprehensive suite" of documentation, libraries, and sample programs.

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Experts believe quantum computers could allow scientists to address some of the world's toughest challenges, such as world hunger or the risky effects of climate change. Storing qubits and handling them can be very finicky, which is why your PC doesn't have an Intel Core-Q processor powering Windows Quantum yet.

It might sound like this sort of technology is a way off in the distance, but there's some interesting news, and it's particularly curious if you've been keen to give yourself a project to do over the summer: you can now learn quantum computing.

Because they are so finicky, most approaches to building qubits require massive amounts of error correction, or techniques to ensure information is delivered reliably. Quantum computation can be deployed to tackle some of the hardest problems, including climate change and world hunger. The hope is that these tools will make the power of quantum computing accessible to many more people.

"What you're going to see as a developer is the opportunity to tie into tools that you already know well, services you already know well", said Todd Holmdahl, Microsoft's VP in charge of its quantum effort.


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