• Welcome to TechPowerUp Forums, Guest! Please check out our forum guidelines for info related to our community.

The Future is Quantum: Microsoft Releases Free Preview of Q# Development Kit

Raevenlord

News Editor
Staff member
Joined
Aug 12, 2016
Messages
2,704 (2.38/day)
Location
Portugal
System Name The Ryzening
Processor Ryzen 7 1700 @ 3.7 GHz
Motherboard MSI X370 Gaming Pro Carbon
Cooling Arctic Cooling Liquid Freezer 120
Memory 16 GB G.Skill Trident Z F4-3200 (2x 8 GB)
Video Card(s) TPU's Awesome MSI GTX 1070 Gaming X
Storage Boot: Crucial MX100 128GB; Gaming: Crucial MX 300 525GB; Storage: Samsung 1TB HDD, Toshiba 2TB HDD
Display(s) LG 29UM68P (21:9 2560x1080 FreeSync Ultrawide)
Case NOX Hummer MC Black
Audio Device(s) ASUS Xonar DX
Power Supply Seasonic M12II Evo 620W 80+
Mouse Cooler Master Masterkeys Lite L
Keyboard Cooler Master Masterkeys Lite L
Software Windows 10 x64
So you want to learn how to program a quantum computer. Now, there's a toolkit for that. Microsoft is releasing a free preview version of its Quantum Development Kit, which includes the Q# programming language, a quantum computing simulator and other resources for people who want to start writing applications for a quantum computer. The Q# programming language was built from the ground up specifically for quantum computing.

The Quantum Development Kit, which Microsoft first announced at its Ignite conference in September, is designed for developers who are eager to learn how to program on quantum computers whether or not they are experts in the field of quantum physics. It's deeply integrated into Visual Studio, Microsoft's suite of developer tools, so aspects of it will be familiar to people who are already developing applications in other programming languages. And it's designed to work with a local quantum simulator, also released as part of the kit, that can simulate around 30 logical qubits of quantum computing power using a typical laptop computer. That will allow developers to debug quantum code and test programs on small instances right on their own computers.





For larger-scale quantum challenges, Microsoft also is offering an Azure-based simulator that can simulate more than 40 logical qubits of computing power.

Along with the kit, Microsoft also is making a comprehensive suite of documentation, libraries and sample programs available. That will give people the background they need to start playing around with aspects of computing that are unique to quantum systems, such as quantum teleportation. That's a method of securely sharing information across quantum computing bits, or qubits, that are connected by a quantum state called entanglement.

"The hope is that you play with something like teleportation and you get intrigued," said Krysta Svore, a principal researcher at Microsoft who has led the development of the quantum software and simulator.



The kit will let people create applications that can run right now on the quantum simulator, and those same apps also will eventually work on a topological quantum computer, which Microsoft is in the process of developing for general purpose quantum computing.

"The beauty of it is that this code won't need to change when we plug it into the quantum hardware," Svore said.

From artificial intelligence to climate change
Experts believe quantum computers could allow scientists to address some of the world's toughest challenges, such as world hunger or the dangerous effects of climate change. That's partly because quantum computers will be able to do calculations in hours or even minutes that would take the lifetime of the universe for even the most advanced classical computers in use today.

Quantum computers also are expected to help spur major advances in fields such as artificial intelligence.

For example, many of the current breakthroughs in AI are based in part on machine learning, in which a system is given a set of data and learns from that data to recognize things like words, sounds or objects.


With a quantum computing simulator, Svore said computer scientists are already seeing how they could create quantum algorithms for that type of AI research. In early testing on the simulator, they are seeing how these quantum algorithms could more quickly find more nuanced patterns in data, which could spur major advances in fields such as speech, vision or language recognition.

"It seems like there's a huge amount of potential there, and we're just scratching the surface," Svore said.

Topological quantum computing
The Quantum Development Kit is part of Microsoft's plan to build a robust, full-fledged quantum computing system, which includes everything from the quantum computing hardware to the full software stack. The company's researchers also are working on projects focused on cryptography and security in a quantum computing world.

Microsoft's approach is centered on the development of a topological qubit, a more robust type of qubit that Microsoft's experts believe will provide a better basis for practical, scalable quantum computing.

One big challenge about quantum computing is that qubits are extremely finicky. They need to be stored at very low temperatures, for example, or they might be disturbed and destroyed.

Because they are so finicky, most approaches to building qubits require massive amounts of error correction, or techniques to ensure information is delivered reliably. With a topological qubit, error correction is built right into the physics of the qubit itself. That makes it easier to scale up and deliver reliable results, and to do computations that are orders of magnitude larger than is possible on a classical computer, with fewer qubits than other quantum systems.

It goes without saying that quantum physics is extremely complex, and even some of the smartest people in the world confess that quantum computing is hard for them to understand.

Todd Holmdahl, the corporate vice president in charge of Microsoft's quantum effort, noted that it's up to Microsoft to figure out the quantum physics - and then to deliver tools like the Quantum Development Kit that people without a quantum physics degree can use. The hope is that these tools will make the power of quantum computing accessible to many more people.



"What you're going to see as a developer is the opportunity to tie into tools that you already know well, services you already know well," Holmdahl said. "There will be a twist with quantum computing, but it's our job to make it as easy as possible for the developers who know and love us to be able to use these new tools that could potentially do some things exponentially faster - which means going from a billion years on a classical computer to a couple hours on a quantum computer."


View at TechPowerUp Main Site
 
Joined
Jun 28, 2016
Messages
2,532 (2.14/day)
I have to say... fantastic. I've just downloaded it and it's pretty obvious how I'll spend next few weekends.

Now they "only" have to give us a quantum server for actual calculations. :-D
 
Joined
Aug 20, 2007
Messages
11,569 (2.62/day)
System Name Pioneer
Processor Intel i9 9900k @ Stock
Motherboard ASRock Z390 Taichi
Cooling Noctua NH-D15 + A whole lotta Sunon and Corsair Maglev blower fans...
Memory G.SKILL TridentZ Series 32GB (4 x 8GB) DDR4-3200 @ DDR4-3400 14-14-14-34-2T
Video Card(s) EVGA GTX 1080 FTW2
Storage HGST UltraStar 7K6000 3.5" HDD 2TB 7200 RPM (w/128MBs of Cache)
Display(s) LG 32GK850G-B 1440p 32" AMVA Panel G-Sync 144hz Display
Case Thermaltake Core X31
Audio Device(s) Onboard Toslink to Schiit Modi Multibit to Asgard 2 Amp to AKG K7XX Ruby Red Massdrop Headphones
Power Supply Seasonic PRIME 750W 80Plus Titanium
Mouse ROCCAT Kone EMP
Keyboard WASD CODE 104-Key w/ Cherry MX Green Keyswitches, Doubleshot Vortex PBT White Transluscent Keycaps
Software Windows 10 x64
Now they "only" have to give us a quantum server for actual calculations. :-D
They already have a "quantum Azure" instance they sell that can do 40 qubits, but I have a feeling you're after something more...
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jun 28, 2016
Messages
2,532 (2.14/day)
16TB for 40qbits I want that much RAM in my workstation
Do you, really?
Think about transfer speeds. It's not that easy to actually use 16TB as RAM. Servers have such amounts, but it's either for massive virtualization (shared among hundreds of users and many CPUs) or for in-memory database systems (or RAM-drives).
In a single-user and single-CPU workstation you'd struggle to use as much RAM today simply because of the bandwidth limitation (even if the CPU could address it all).

Quantum computers work differently. You don't upload data to the qubits and you don't read data from them. They kind of fill themselves during calculation and just return the result. :)

BTW: Here we're discussing a quantum SDK - quantum computers being already available (although scarce), but English dictionary in Firefox still marks the word "qubit" as a mistake...
 
Last edited:
Joined
Aug 10, 2007
Messages
4,219 (0.95/day)
Location
Geneva, FL, USA
Processor Intel i5-6600
Motherboard ASRock H170M-ITX
Cooling Cooler Master Geminii S524
Memory G.Skill DDR4-2133 16GB (8GB x 2)
Video Card(s) Gigabyte R9-380X 4GB
Storage Samsung 950 EVO 250GB (mSATA)
Display(s) LG 29UM69G-B 2560x1080 IPS
Case Lian Li PC-Q25
Audio Device(s) Realtek ALC892
Power Supply Seasonic SS-460FL2
Mouse Logitech G700s
Keyboard Logitech G110
Software Windows 10 Pro
Oh, I just went quantum!



Too many qubits; didn't wait for it to complete :) I could run some of the tutorials at 16 though, just a couple seconds on that CPU. Time for TR!
 
Joined
Nov 25, 2011
Messages
92 (0.03/day)
Do you, really?
Think about transfer speeds. It's not that easy to actually use 16TB as RAM. Servers have such amounts, but it's either for massive virtualization (shared among hundreds of users and many CPUs) or for in-memory database systems (or RAM-drives).
In a single-user and single-CPU workstation you'd struggle to use as much RAM today simply because of the bandwidth limitation (even if the CPU could address it all).

Quantum computers work differently. You don't upload data to the qubits and you don't read data from them. They kind of fill themselves during calculation and just return the result. :)

BTW: Here we're discussing a quantum SDK - quantum computers being already available (although scarce), but English dictionary in Firefox still marks the word "qubit" as a mistake...
DDR5 memory should solve that bottleneck
 
Joined
Jun 28, 2016
Messages
2,532 (2.14/day)
DDR5 memory should solve that bottleneck
No, it won't. GDDR5 will be a few times faster. We are talking about 1000x more memory than what current consumer tech is designed for.
It's just too much for typical RAM usage. Even if we already had DDR12 with fast enough transfers, existing CPUs won't push data fast enough.
 
Joined
Nov 25, 2011
Messages
92 (0.03/day)
Do you, really?
Think about transfer speeds. It's not that easy to actually use 16TB as RAM. Servers have such amounts, but it's either for massive virtualization (shared among hundreds of users and many CPUs) or for in-memory database systems (or RAM-drives).
In a single-user and single-CPU workstation you'd struggle to use as much RAM today simply because of the bandwidth limitation (even if the CPU could address it all).

Quantum computers work differently. You don't upload data to the qubits and you don't read data from them. They kind of fill themselves during calculation and just return the result. :)

BTW: Here we're discussing a quantum SDK - quantum computers being already available (although scarce), but English dictionary in Firefox still marks the word "qubit" as a mistake...
Do you, really?
Think about transfer speeds. It's not that easy to actually use 16TB as RAM. Servers have such amounts, but it's either for massive virtualization (shared among hundreds of users and many CPUs) or for in-memory database systems (or RAM-drives).
In a single-user and single-CPU workstation you'd struggle to use as much RAM today simply because of the bandwidth limitation (even if the CPU could address it all).

Quantum computers work differently. You don't upload data to the qubits and you don't read data from them. They kind of fill themselves during calculation and just return the result. :)

BTW: Here we're discussing a quantum SDK - quantum computers being already available (although scarce), but English dictionary in Firefox still marks the word "qubit" as a mistake...
No, it won't. GDDR5 will be a few times faster. We are talking about 1000x more memory than what current consumer tech is designed for.
It's just too much for typical RAM usage. Even if we already had DDR12 with fast enough transfers, existing CPUs won't push data fast enough.
No, it won't. GDDR5 will be a few times faster. We are talking about 1000x more memory than what current consumer tech is designed for.
It's just too much for typical RAM usage. Even if we already had DDR12 with fast enough transfers, existing CPUs won't push data fast enough.
Good point
 
Top