In the fall of December last year, Microsoft unveiled the first version of its Quantum Development Kit and a new Quantum computing programming language. Today, as per the announcement made by Jeff Henshaw, the Group Program Manager of Quantum Software, Microsoft introduced an update to the Quantum Development Kit, expanding its attributes and cloud-based Q programming to macOS and Linux, additional open source libraries, and inter functionality with Python. With the announcement of this fresh update, the tremendous potential of quantum computing gains a foot in the door to more and more developers on a greater number of platforms. This update allows Microsoft to take a step ahead in holding up its vision of quantum computing as the key to the major technical problems of the future.
After several years of relentless programming development, Microsoft came up with the Quantum Development Kit that brought in a path-breaking new programming language called Q#, which has a compiler that does scalable quantum computing. Not only this, Q# is integrated with Visual Studio Integration, libraries and samples, debugging abilities, documentation and Azure Cloud that supposedly boasts of supporting over 40 logical qubits of power.
Microsoft’s goal is to unleash a full launch of quantum computers in the near future while simultaneously emerging as the leading player in the market.
Thousands of developers have explored the Quantum Development Kit and experienced the world of quantum computing, including students, professors, researchers, algorithm designers, and people new to quantum development who are using these tools to gain knowledge. – Microsoft
The Microsoft Quantum Development Kit promises increased accessibility and improved performance with this update. The changelog as given below outlines 4 pointers:
- Focus on Mac- and Linux-based development: Following Mac and Linux being the topmost feature on demand from its developers, Microsoft extends support to Q# quantum applications on macOS and Linux along with VS Code and quantum simulation support.
- Full open source access to Microsoft’s quantum development documentation in samples and libraries: Back in December 2017, Microsoft shared the source code of the libraries and samples (i.e. the entire documentation of the code) to share the knowledge of the programming of Q# constructs with the developers. Consequently, many developers wanted to improvise and appropriate the code in their own applications and also in the Q# home community.
- Inter-functionality with the Python programming language: Many developers have Python as the programming language with all the existing libraries and samples of code in Python. To this end, Microsoft aims at providing smooth and hassle-free access to this operability from Q#, enabling the Q# code to call Python routines without having to port anything and vice-versa. For all the programming enthusiasts, this feature of Python inter-functionality is available as a preview on Windows today.
- Speedy and more efficient simulator performance: Microsoft claims to have increased its quantum simulator performance by up to 4-5x that provides a much more efficient and speedy testing, optimization loop, particularly on simulations of 20 or more qubits. This simulator shall be a precursor to the real quantum hardware on which Microsoft is currently working on.
As the header on the download page of Microsoft Quantum Development Kit reads, this update catapults Microsoft into ‘Powering a new generation of development’.