An Advanced Quantum Computing Software Kit Is Now Open Source

DIY quantum computing is on the rise.
Brad Bergan
A fictional depiction of a 3D-rendered advanced AI network.Violka08 / iStock

You might already have a hand in the next tech revolution.

Cambridge Quantum has made its latest quantum software development kit completely open-source, with immediate availability for everyone to use and zero restrictions on use, according to a press release shared with IE via email.

Access and instructions are available on GitHub (linked below), but one thing's for certain: DIY quantum computing is on the rise.

The new quantum computing chip stresses minimal gate count and execution time

Specifically, the latest, v.0.15-version of TKET (pronounced "ticket") offers a high-performance quantum software development kit, and has gone open-source after months of waiting. "We first announced that TKET would be available on an 'open-access' basis earlier this year, with a commitment to become fully open-sourced by the end of 2021," said CEO Ilyas Khan of Cambridge Quantum (CQ), in the press release. "During that period, a global community of software developers embraced and adopted our class leading product that delivers the best possible performance, whilst utilizing existing platforms such as Qiskit and Cirq, as well as the largest collection of quantum processors available."

Of central importance was the need to minimize gate count and execution time "in this Noisy Intermediate Scale Quantum (NISQ) era," said CQ's Head of Software Ross Duncan. "TKET combines high-level hardware-agnostic optimization for quantum circuits with target specific compilation passes for the chosen quantum device." Duncan also explained how this enables quantum computing users to switch up quantum platforms without sacrificing optimal performance. "Users need only to focus on developing their quantum applications, not rewriting code around the idiosyncrasies of any particular hardware."

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In moving its kit to open-source status, CQ is allowing users to experience more transparency in the code. This, in turn, makes it easier to report issues, and integrate more robust updates. "The rapidly growing quantum software community will now be able to make their own contributions or take inspiration and develop their own extensions to the codebase under the permissive Apache 2.0 license," according to the release. This comes on the heels of earlier open-source extensions, that started with CQ's Version 0.8. "Extensions are Python modules which enable TKET to work with different quantum  devices and simulators, and provide integration with other quantum software tools." While users interested in CQ's open-source quantum tools can access further documentation and tutorials via GitHub, this is a significant step in outsourcing the necessary work of transforming modern computing into a next-gen force that could literally alter the fabric of modern society.

In the last several years, IBM has created 28 quantum computers, eight of which in 2020 alone, highlighting the rapid jump in pace in the experimental field. IBM's Q Network has been available both on its proprietary Cloud software services, in addition to open-source software development kit, Qiskit. Together, these represent a "community of Fortune 500 companies, academic institutions, startups and national research labs working with IBM to advance quantum computing," according to the firm's website. In September of 2020, Xanadu created the world's first photonic quantum computer based entirely on the cloud. While none of the above developments have fully realized the potential of quantum computing, it's difficult to overstate the possibilities of making it happen. The technology could revolutionize the medical industry, transform communications, enhance cybersecurity to unimaginable levels, and alter the landscape of artificial intelligence forever.

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