A Free Quantum Development Kit by Microsoft

Microsoft launched the quantum development kit with the purpose of simplifying the process of writing programs for use in quantum computers. And recently, the company announced that it will soon be introducing a chemical simulation library into it. (Image:  wikimedia /  CC BY 3.0)
Microsoft launched the quantum development kit with the purpose of simplifying the process of writing programs for use in quantum computers. And recently, the company announced that it will soon be introducing a chemical simulation library into it. (Image: wikimedia / CC BY 3.0)

Microsoft launched the quantum development kit with the purpose of simplifying the process of writing programs for use in quantum computers. And recently, the company announced that it will soon be introducing a chemical simulation library into it.

The chemical simulation library

The chemical simulation library will be released later this year and has been developed in collaboration with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). Developers can use the simulation library, together with the open-source computational chemistry tool NWChem, to find quantum solutions for some of the most complex problems in chemistry.

“This partnership draws on the complementary capabilities of the Microsoft Quantum Development Kit and NWChem, and the respective expertise in quantum algorithms and computational chemistry. Together, we can explore a variety of applications in areas such as the design of novel catalysts to drive efficiency in fertilizer production — a process that currently consumes two percent of the world’s energy,” the Microsoft blog quotes Steven Ashby, Director of PNNL.

Though there are endless applications for quantum computing, one of the key areas where developers can benefit is in the field of chemical simulations. Microsoft is reportedly betting on this and has therefore planned to release the chemical simulations library in anticipation of it.  

The chemical simulation library will be released later this year and has been developed in collaboration with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). (Image: wikimedia / CC0 1.0)

“The library will enable developers and organizations to create quantum-inspired solutions that can be simulated on classical computers today and quantum computers in the future — helping them tackle big chemistry challenges in such fields as agriculture and climate,” Tech Crunch quotes a Microsoft announcement.

In addition to including the chemical simulation library, the update that will be released later in the year will also bring in modern language capabilities into the company’s Q# quantum programming language.

Microsoft’s involvement in quantum computing

The quantum development kit is offered by Microsoft absolutely free of charge. The company claims that programmers who already use Visual Studio will have an easy time migrating into using the quantum development kit. And the best part? You don’t need any deep knowledge of quantum physics to use the development kit released by Microsoft.

“You don’t need to know the physics. You don’t need to know the quantum mechanics. In fact, I’ll admit I didn’t take quantum mechanics until graduate school… I entered quantum computing without ever taking physics in college. I’m a computer scientist by training,” Digital Trends quotes Krysta Svore, Principle Research Manager at Microsoft’s Quantum Architectures and Computation group.

Though many people would have heard about the term quantum mechanics at least in passing, very few would know about things like quantum entanglement and Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen (EPR) steering, two concepts that have the potential to completely change the world we live in. (Image: pixabay / CC0 1.0)

The quantum development kit is offered by Microsoft absolutely free of charge. (Image: pixabay / CC0 1.0)

Microsoft is also deeply involved in developing quantum computers. And when compared to competitors who are also developing quantum computers, Microsoft’s model is said to be using a faster and efficient way to solve quantum programs.

“We are very close to figuring out a topological qubit. We are working on the cryogenic process to control it, and we are working on 3D nano-printing… Competitors will need to connect a million qubits, compared with 1,000 in our quantum computing machine. It is about quality,” Computer Weekly quotes Todd Holmdahl, Microsoft corporate vice-president in charge of quantum computing. This obviously gives Microsoft an incredible edge against competitors.

While Microsoft has not announced any specific date for the release of the chemical simulations library, developers are definitely waiting to test out this newest addition to the world of quantum programming.

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