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Quantum Programming - Making a Step towards Future

Microsoft plans to release programming language for quantum computers – it is now up to create a quantum computer itself.

Microsoft declares that it has developed a new programming language for quantum computing and is going to present it publically, thus, software developers would be able to discover absolutely new powerful opportunities of quantum programming technology.

During its Ignite technology conference the hi-tech giant announced that new programming language will become available by the end of 2017 as a preview version. Still, it won’t require some specific skills or knowledge in quantum physics to use it as it will be integrated into Visual Studio software with all utilities, previously designed for code programming and debugging, and the general programming approach will not differ much from traditional one. With all this debugging support and simulators the programming language will allow generating problems requiring 30 qubits on the personal PCs and 40 qubits in case of utilizing the Microsoft Azure cloud platform.

The version which is going to be released will include all necessary libraries and manuals that will make the process of quantum computer perception easier. It will enable the programmers to develop quantum algorithms that can be used with quantum computers someday.

That’s a futuristic and ambitious step of Microsoft that clearly shows its aspiration to be a leader in the new programming trend.

It’s worth to remember that the principle of quantum computers is using atoms and molecules for data processing and memorizing by keeping multiple states at the same time that is a huge advantage comparing with a traditional computer where the bits can be just one or zero. Quantum computer technologies are expected to deliver quicker data processing than traditional computers can do which will become a colossal breakout in numerous technologies.

Nevertheless, Microsoft is not alone in the list of companies aspiring to enter the age of quantum computing being accompanied by IBM, Google, and some other ambitious ones. For example, IBM has already connected a few prototypes of quantum chips to the Internet and also released publically the programming set based on Python.

Similarly, some US researchers have developed multi-level programming language Quipper based on Haskell which suits quantum computers much better than QCL which is designed based on C.

Another example of attempting quantum programming language creation is Quantum Computing Playground which, in a nutshell, is a browser WebGL application for Chrome utilizing a quantum computer with a graphics accelerator, simple IDE interface, and own scripting language.

The list of companies who want to join the quantum computing stream can also be extended with D-Wave Systems, Redmond, and others.

At the same time, as long as progress in quantum programming is obvious, it will take much more time before it can be applied practically because the quantum computers have been not developed yet which is caused by the necessity to keep the quantum processor at almost zero temperature in order to remain stable. These days such conditions can be provided by huge developers’ laboratories only.

The attempts to facilitate the process of practical quantum computing implementation are made, for example, by Microsoft’s theoretical researcher Michael Freedman who is trying to build both the hardware and software for a quantum computer. In order to do this, he engaged some of the world’s brightest minds in fields of mathematics, physics, material and computer sciences.

Microsoft is also working on creating quantum computer hardware by publically spreading programming appliances among programmers and researchers, because, according to the company, as much the developers are trained in quantum programming these days, as easier and faster it will be to do this when the hardware is ready.

As a matter of fact, the experimental prototyping of quantum computers has already brought some results. A 16/17 qubit computer, which was built by IBM after more than 300,000 experiments, turned to be the most successful prototype these days. However, it is still far from its commercial release. Nevertheless, this is just one of the first attempts and it is even hard to imagine how much of them will appear in the future.

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