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Microsoft Quantum Development Kit

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

Microsoft Quantum Development Kit is a set of programming tools for the creation of code and programs for use in quantum computing. The software development kit (SDK) allows programmers to enter the new field of quantum computing development without requiring them to have deep knowledge of the complex field.

Microsoft provides their Quantum Development Kit free of charge and claims that coding with their development kit is an easy transition from Visual Studio, Microsoft's visual programming environment. With some experience in Visual Studio, developers can expect to be able to create code for use in quantum computers and quantum computing projects. Experienced users of the code can expect to create their own quantum computing algorithms with ease and efficiency.

The Quantum Development Kit is based on Q# language coding and includes a Q# compiler, Q# libraries, a local quantum computing simulator, a quantum trace simulator and a Visual Studio extension for quantum computing projects. Microsoft Quantum is also integrated with other Microsoft programs such as Microsoft 365.

Quantum computers operate by way of qubits (quantum bits) which can exist in multiple states at the same time. In contrast, conventional computers operate in binary, which is either an on or off state. Bits can have one of two possible values, either 0 or 1. The ability to compute all possible permutations of a qubit simultaneously enables quantum computers to perform some tasks in a fraction of the time, largely dependent on the number of qubits a quantum computer supports. This increased variability of state can enable the creation of programs that would be impossible for conventional computing. However, because quantum computers don’t use binary-based machine code to operate, they require a new type of programming.

This was last updated in January 2018

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