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Quantum framework, Cirq: A Google AI initiative for NISQ computers

Jul 19, 2018, 8:00 am

Google today launched Cirq, an open source framework for running algorithms on the Noisy Intermediate Scale Quantum (NISQ) computers that will be available in the near future.

A common problem researchers face when designing quantum algorithms for today’s quantum computers is that of working within the limitations and nuances of the hardware. A poor mapping between the algorithms and the machines, and ignoring the devices’ complex constraints, inevitably leads to wasted resources and faulty computations.

Cirq is focused on near-term questions and helping researchers understand whether NISQ quantum computers are capable of solving computational problems of practical importance.

The thesis is that when we’re developing algorithms in the NISQ era, you’re going to have to pay attention to hardware. It’s going to be important and so algorithm aims to deal with those details. – Dave Bacon, software lead, Google AI Quantum Team.

Google AI Quantum team announces the public alpha of Cirq at the First International Workshop on Quantum Software and Quantum Machine Learning at UTS in Sydney where Bacon explained the approach that his team had taken to its development.

Bacon states “We hear a lot the words ‘hardware agnostic’ used but definitely for NISQ algorithms I just don’t think agnostic is the way to go.” Bacon adds that it’s a great initiative to take which is slightly different, hence needs to be a little more conservative to their approach. “We’re going to have data structures, which are optimized for writing and compiling these quantum circuits to allow users to get the most out of NISQ architectures,” he said.

The markable features of Cirq include; being able to control over quantum circuits, specify gate behavior, and placing these gates appropriately on the device, as well as scheduling the timing of these gates.

Prior to today’s launch, Google had been working with a number of early adopters including NASA, quantum software company QC Ware, and the UK-based Cambridge Quantum Computing. Bacon called on the audience of global quantum computing and machine learning experts to shout at him and make their additional feedback.

The Google AI Quantum Team hopes to be able to test Cirq on rival NISQ machine with positive feedback from the experts.

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