Seeking to solve “planet-scale” problems, Microsoft has open-sourced its Quantum Development Kit, or QDK, a software development kit for building scalable quantum computing systems. The QDK features Q#, a high-level quantum-focused programming language that integrates with Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code.
By open-sourcing the SDK, Microsoft is looking to foster contribution of quantum apps and algorithms along with advancements in compilation, tools, and optimization. Introduced 18 months ago for quantum algorithm development, QDK includes:
- The Q# quantum programming language and compiler. Q# is a domain-specific language for expressing quantum algorithms. Developers can write subroutines that execute on an adjunct quantum processor under control of a classical host program and computer.
- Development extensions for the Visual Studio IDE and Visual Studio Code editor.
- Samples and tutorials.
- Integration with the Jupyter notebook platform.
- Simulators and resource estimators for quantum programs.
Recent updates to QDK include a “no install” option, designed to make it easier to contribute quantum initiatives. With quantum computing, Microsoft has goals of solving world issues such as development of clean energy solutions and resource-efficient food production. Additionally, Microsoft currently is leveraging quantum programming in an alliance with Case Western Reserve University to advance MRI scanning for higher accuracy, for faster disease detection. In 2016, Microsoft announced an effort to build a quantum computer, enabling parallel computations at very high speeds.
Microsoft has published instructions on getting started with QDK at the company website. QDK installs on Windows, Linux, or MacOS. QDK samples can be found on GitHub.