What comes to your mind first when you hear the term “Quantum Computer”? Huge rooms filled with scientists and engineers, who perform incredible computational processes on huge computers to find answers to some eternal questions.
Just a while ago, it was so. But in recent years, quantum computing has evolved. And now, the future, where software development companies such as Purrweb create quantum apps, seems very close. But is it really so?
How it all began
It all started back in 1934, when Alan Turing invented computer science. Then, this science was a haven for enthusiasts and scientists, who saw computing as a solution to many problems. In the 70s and 80s, computer science entered a new stage, when developers took the reins of power. Companies like Xerox, IBM, Apple, and Microsoft, were among the first to recognize the potential of computer technology. They set out to equip every individual with a personal computer. Today, computer applications are developed in a matter of days, and often, programming knowledge is not needed at all. Numerous tools and development kits have made this process accessible.
The quantum computing (QC) industry follows roughly the same path. In the early 2000s, the community consisted of PhDs and enthusiasts. Over time, big companies picked up this trend. In 2016, IBM released its cloud solution — Quantum Experience. It allows programmers to practice working with quantum computers. This was a clear signal that software development vendors were no longer hesitating to enter the market.
Today, the QC industry isn’t purely scientific. It has switched to the production phase and stands a good chance of becoming one of the most promising segments of high technology.
The increasing popularity and accessibility of quantum computing have led to the development of tools, which help programmers carry out computationally intensive tasks.
Quantum software can be divided into two main categories:
- software responsible for running algorithms;
- software that facilitates quantum computer processing.
The first type of software serves to create quantum applications or perform any related operations. Such software kits are used by developers and end-users.
The second type serves to make quantum computers smarter and bug-free. It helps to eliminate the emerging errors so that the algorithms run smoothly.
The likes of IBM and Microsoft have developed proprietary SDKs to transfer the power of their quantum machines to the cloud. The use of such SDKs usually does not cause any problems since they are written with the help of classical programming languages like Python.
Below, we provide a small list of the most popular Quantum SDK solutions.
Leap (from D-Wave)
Leap is one of the most popular Quantum SDKs. It provides developers with access to the D-wave quantum computer. The kit helps you perform heavy computing and develop quantum applications in a dedicated development environment.
The first time you log in, you get one free minute of access to the full power of Leap. All operations are performed in a matter of milliseconds (up to 4000 operations per second). This minute is given to you in order to assess the potential and power of the quantum cloud solution from D-Wave.
But the main advantage of this SDK is that you do not need to be a scientist to use this software and create applications. The average programming knowledge will be sufficient. 200+ applications have already been developed on the platform; and a large community is there to give you useful advice.
QDK (from Microsoft)
The Quantum Development Kit from Microsoft aims to educate a new generation of developers on how to use quantum computers, simulators, and algorithms, and make the industry widely available.
Microsoft has developed a completely new programming language for quantum algorithms — Q#. The language is fully integrated with Python and works great in editors such as the Visual Studio Code.
All libraries and samples are open-source. They were designed by experts so that beginners could take the entire blocks of code and create their first quantum applications without much effort. This way, the developers can quickly understand whether they like the process or not. If yes, they can proceed with a more comprehensive study. Of course, open-source libraries also allow you to make your own samples and contribute to the fast-growing community.
App store is coming
These advances have caused a large influx of enthusiasts and developers into the industry. However, to date, quantum computing has remained a specialized industry. Fortunately, this is likely to change soon.
The very pace of the industry’s growth is similar to that of computer science. Once, a large number of working solutions from powerful companies caused the explosion of the computer industry and led to the birth of new programs and applications. Most likely, we will also see some sort of a Quantum App Store in the near future. It will act as a huge repository, where the entire community of quantum developers exchange their ideas and help each other solve app-related problems.
Today, we can already see an alternative that is implemented in the cloud. But access to such a repository is not yet publicly available.
Definitely. Fast-progressing technologies such as VR, AR, or AI, show that humanity is ready to invest in and develop new solutions that have seemed absolutely unrealistic until recently. Investors, enthusiasts, and ordinary people are ready to take the next step. And this step involves providing large-scale access to the power of quantum computers. It is hard to imagine what kind of applications entrepreneurs and programmers will be able to create with full access to such power.