Quantum computing atoms

It’s not secret that Microsoft is betting big on Quantum computing. The software giant began to fully commit in 2015 and has since announced plans for a scalable quantum computer. More recently, it collaborated with USyd to create a vital component.

However, like any big project, Quantum computing needs developers behind it. In September, the company announced its Quantum Development Kit, and it’s now available to all in a free preview. It comes with a brand new programming language, which has the fitting name of Q#.

Alongside it is a compiler, Visual Studio integration, and a local quantum computing simulator. Microsoft Azure also powers a simulator, allowing for over 40 logical qubits of power.

The kit also contains debugging capabilities, as well as extensive libraries, samples, and documentation. The idea is to get applications ready for the full launch of quantum computers, with Microsoft emerging a major player.

“Authored in Q# by the industry’s brightest quantum minds, the libraries provide access to quantum concepts with documented code,” said a spokesperson. “You can access the entire set of libraries and samples on GitHub.”

Solving the World’s Biggest Problems

As well as its kit, the Redmond giant has plans for hardware and a full software stack. It’s calling it the ‘Quantum Age’, and believes the advancement can solve problems like global warming, illness, and security.

They’ll do so by leveraging the power of sub-atomic particles to process in parrallel and solve problems far faster. At their best, they may be able to check every single answer at once, opening the door to calculations that would previously take lifetimes to complete.

That’s likely still a long way off, but this toolkit is undoubtedly a step in the right direction.

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