A brief guide to the basics of programming quantum computers

A brief guide to the basics of programming quantum computers is presented

Los Alamos National Laboratory specialists commissioned by the US Department of Energy created and published Open access short guide to the basics of programming quantum computers. The guide is aimed at programmers who want to enter the world of quantum computing. The document extensively discusses both the principles of quantum hardware and 20 popular quantum algorithms.

    Quantum computer IBM Q System One.  Image source: IBM

Quantum computer IBM Q System One. Image source: IBM

PDF manual in English can be downloaded from this link in this side. Among the 20 algorithms examined are as basic as Grover’s algorithm for searching databases and more, and Shor’s algorithm for factoring integers. To connect the algorithms to quantum hardware, the guide explains their implementation on IBM’s 5-qubit IBM QX4 quantum computer and other systems. In each case, the authors discuss implementation results and explain the differences between a simulator and running on real hardware platforms.

“Writing quantum algorithms is fundamentally different from writing programs for classical computing and requires some understanding of quantum principles and the mathematics behind them. – said Andrey Yuryevich Lokhov, a scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory and lead author of a manual recently published in ACM Transactions on Quantum Computing. “Our guidance will help quantum programmers get started in this area, which will continue to evolve as more and more quantum computers with more and more qubits become commonplace.”

The first section of the guide covers the basics of quantum computer programming, explaining qubits and systems of qubits, the basic quantum concepts of superposition and entanglement, and quantum measurements, before moving on to more in-depth material on unitary transforms and gates, quantum circuits, and quantum algorithms.

The section on the IBM quantum computer covers the set of gates available to the algorithms, the physical gates actually implemented, how qubits are connected, and sources of noise (errors). In another section different types of quantum algorithms are considered. After that, the guide looks at 20 selected algorithms with a problem statement, description and steps for implementation on an IBM quantum platform or in some cases on other computers.

The material ends with an extensive list of links to related works with a detailed presentation of information on the topic. If you are interested, don’t miss it.

About the author

Robbie Elmers

Robbie Elmers is a staff writer for Tech News Space, covering software, applications and services.

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