Quantum computers are not your run-of-the-mill general-purpose computers. They are a completely different beast. These specialized hardware-based technology is unconventional, complex and leading-edge. To date, the largest demonstration of entanglement is just a few qubits. Useful work demands perhaps 200 entangled qubits.
However, there are significant strides and within the next five to ten years we will see more and more advancements. One of the major players, Microsoft, has updated their Microsoft Quantum Development Kit with a range of new capabilities. The update includes:
- New quantum chemistry library. The new quantum chemistry library can be used to develop quantum simulation solutions in the chemistry domain.
- Improved Q# developer experience. The Quantum Development Kit now delivers deeper integration with Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code. This update includes live feedback as you type, with errors indicated by underlined errors and warnings.
- New Q# language capabilities. The Q# programming language has been extended in ways that unify how developers code common operations, such as iteration over arrays, making coding in Q# easier and faster.
Update #1: Quantum Chemistry
With the updated kit you’ll find a suite of detailed documentation, tutorials, libraries, and sample algorithms and Q# code. You can dive right in with the included quantum codes and find easy-to-follow samples crafted in Q# for highly optimized and intuitively written code. The Quantum Development Kit supports a broad and inclusive range of development platforms, including Windows, Linux, and macOS. It also supports programming languages such as Python on Windows.
The kit also includes simulation tools that can mimic execution on a quantum computer and allows users to optimize their code and estimate the resource cost of running a solution on a real quantum computer with the help of the included Trace Simulator.
To start learning how to program for quantum, try our self-paced tutorials called the Microsoft Quantum Katas. These coding kits are great tools for learning a new programming language and rely on several simple learning principles: active learning, incremental complexity growth, and feedback.
Update #2 & 3: Improved Q#
The updated Quantum Development Kit offers enhanced integration with both Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code. This includes IntelliSense features such as real-time feedback on errors. Additionally, the Q# language continues to improve and now provides more powerful language expressions that simplify the task of quantum programming. For instance, to simplify common code patterns, we added a conditional operator (condition? true | false) and iteration over arrays as well as ranges.
Learn more about the new Q# language changes here.