Software giant releases a quantum programming language and simulator

Microsoft has now announced that it has released a free preview version of its Quantum Development Kit that consists of a new programming language for quantum computing called Q#. The tech giant also launched a compiler as well as quantum computing simulator that will allow developers to test and debug their quantum algorithms.

Microsoft’s Quantum Development Kit was first revealed at the Ignite conference in September. According to the company, the Q# programming language is a high-level programming language that includes a native type system for qubits, operators and abstractions. The local version, released as part of the preview, can simulate up to 32 quantum bits (qubits) using a typical laptop (some 32GB of RAM). Microsoft is also offering an Azure-based simulator that can scale up to 40 logical qubits of computing power.

“Quantum computing takes a giant leap forward from today’s technology—one that will forever alter our economic, industrial, academic, and societal landscape. With the preview release of the Microsoft Quantum Development Kit, we are one step closer to realizing this vision,” the Microsoft Quantum Team, wrote in a post.

While quantum computing is complex, to say the least, Microsoft says its kit is designed to get developers up to speed with programming on quantum computers. According to the company, the kit can be used by all developers, as the kit does not require one to be an expert in quantum physics. Also, since its deeply integrated into Visual Studio (VS), a lot of elements will be familiar to developers who already use VS to develop apps.

“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,” Todd Holmdahl, corporate vice president in charge of the company’s quantum effort, said in an announcement. “There will be a twist with quantum computing, but it’s our job to make it as easy as possible for the developers who know and love us to be able to use these new tools that could potentially do some things exponentially faster – which means going from a billion years on a classical computer to a couple hours on a quantum computer.”

In addition, the dev kit also comes along with a “comprehensive suite” of documentation, libraries, and sample programs, that would help people get familiar with aspects of quantum computing such as quantum teleportation. Quantum teleportation is a method of securely sharing information across qubits connected by quantum entanglement.

Microsoft’s plan is to build a “full-fledge quantum computing system, “which includes everything from the quantum computing hardware to the full software stack,” according to the company.

The Quantum development Kit can be downloaded now.