Published: Tue, December 12, 2017
Industry | By Faith Ward

Microsoft's Latest Quantum Development Kit Includes different Tools

Microsoft's Latest Quantum Development Kit Includes different Tools

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.

As there still aren't many quantum computers, the unnamed simulator included in the kit will let developers debug and test their programs. The local quantum simulator can be used to simulate around 30 logical qubits of quantum computing power using a typical PC.

"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.

Microsoft has launched its Quantum Development Kit - even though a quantum computer doesn't even exist yet. 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.

In November 2016, the company unveiled an ambitious plan to build a quantum computer. Quantum computing could make cracking the cryptocurrencies trivially easy, he cautioned while urging the development of new technologies like Quantum-Resistant Ledger (QRL) to safeguard data in a post-quantum world.

Along with the kit, Microsoft is offering a comprehensive suite of sample programs, documentation, and libraries.

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All of these resources give budding developers the tools they need to start creating quantum computing applications and many will be transferable to the topological quantum computer that Microsoft is now developing.

With a quantum computing simulator, Svore said computer scientists are already seeing how they could create quantum algorithms for that type of AI research.

During September's Open Source Summit in Los Angeles, Konstantinos Karagiannis, CTO of Security Consulting at BT Americas, warned in a session that quantum computing can pose risks to cryptography and Bitcoin. Rather than use conventional qubits, which require extremely cold temperatures and exceptionally precise instruments to function properly, the system uses topological qubits that aren't as susceptible to electrical noise and other disturbances that can throw off quantum calculations. Quantum computation can be deployed to tackle some of the hardest problems, including climate change and world hunger.

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.

Microsoft has high hopes for quantum computing and is investing accordingly.

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