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Microsoft Opens Its Quantum Development Kit to macOS and Linux

| by Sergio De Simone Follow 14 Followers on Feb 26, 2018. Estimated reading time: 1 minute |

After making its Quantum Development Kit available to developers last December, Microsoft is now announcing its first major update, including support for macOS and Linux, interoperability with Python, and more.

As Microsoft quantum software manager Jeff Henshaw writes, support for developing on Mac and Linux has been the top requested feature. On both platforms, Q# is now integrated inside Visual Studio Code thanks to the Quantum Development Kit for Visual Studio Code. If you have already the .NET Core SDK 2.0 available on your system, you can install the Q# Development Kit project templates and related samples by running:

$ dotnet new -i "Microsoft.Quantum.ProjectTemplates::0.2-*"
$ git clone https://github.com/Microsoft/Quantum.git
$ cd Quantum
$ code . #this will setup Visual Studio Code
$ cd Samples/Teleportation/
$ dotnet run

Along with code samples, Microsoft has open-sourced a number of libraries which are part of the Q# standard library under the MIT license. This will make it possible for developers not only to study the code, which Microsoft had already previously shared under a more restrictive license, but also to reuse it.

According to Henshaw, the integration between the Q# runtime and the Microsoft quantum simulator grants a consistent experience from code editing to quantum simulation, to result analysis, including graphical display, across all platforms.

Additionally, Microsoft’s Quantum repository includes a preview of a Python interoperability package, which aims to make it possible to call Q# code from Python and vice-versa. Henshaw demonstrated how Python can directly call a Q# function and the Python interoperability package will seamlessly initialize the simulator and then run the requested simulation for a number of iterations. Interestingly, Python interoperability works from within Jupyter Notebooks as well, as Henshaw also showed. By implementing Python/Q# interoperability, Microsoft is attempting to leverage all the quantum research that has been done using Python for its own quantum platform.

As a final note, the new Microsoft simulator provides improved performance with up to 4–5x faster simulation, especially on simulations involving 20 or more qubits, says Microsoft.

Microsoft originally announced a preview of its quantum computing platform in 2017, centered around the idea of the topological qubit. The topological qubit is able to store information globally, within its topological structure, and not locally. This should provide and advantage in terms of reliability and scalability of topological quantum computers.

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