Microsoft is launching a new programming language for quantum computers, according to a report on Fossbytes.com.
The tech giant is said to be “making big strides” in the newly emerging field of computing, and announced the as-yet unnamed language at its Ignite event.
The language will be released later this year and will be available through its Visual Studio integrated development environment.
Fossbytes says Microsoft’s new quantum computing programming language resembles other languages, such as Python, C#, and F#, and others.
Ars Technica also published some quantum computing code which is described as “a kind of ‘Hello World!’” for quantum computing.
It’s widely predicted that quantum computing will be far more powerful than the binary systems currently being used for every sort of computing, from mobile devices that people use to the data centres and beyond.
Whether they are servers or mainframes, today’s computers all use the binary system.
But there may be a time soon when quantum computers are used like mainframes at data centres to process vast quantities of data hundreds, possibly thousands, of times faster than binary computers.
Microsoft is not the first to introduce a computer language in anticipation of quantum computing – several other companies have launched similar initiatives.
One of them is Atos, which EM360º reported about some months ago. Although it’s not as well known as tech giants like Microsoft, Atos is $12 billion company that mainly develops software, but which also produces one or two high-end servers, or mainframes.
The company recently launched a new quantum computer emulator – called the Atos Quantum Learning Machine – it built using Intel chips.
At the same time as launching the QLM, Atos unveiled a new language for quantum computing, called aQasm – short for Atos Quantum Assembly Language.
The company described it as a “universal language” which could work with other emulators, and perhaps in a variety of IDEs, although it’s too early to say whether Microsoft or its Visual Studio will have anything to do with it.
Atos says the idea with the new QLM and the associated aQasm language is to give its computer scientists a chance to learn the principles of quantum computing while the actual hardware is still being developed.
At the moment, there are no genuine quantum computers in the world, except for the D-Wave machines, which some argue are not true quantum computers either.
But nonetheless, D-Wave manages to get companies like Volkswagen to part with $15 million for each one of the machines, and business is good.
The main problem with building quantum computing hardware seems to be that extremely low temperatures are required to keep the atoms inside the quantum chips from behaving erratically.
So, a lot of that $15 million is for a high-end fridge, basically. But, to be fair, it’s a space-age fridge that can keep the atoms at outer-space temperatures.
The essential difference between binary computing to quantum computing is probably reasonably widely understood, but essentially, binary uses transistors that can be in one of two states – on or off; whereas quantum computer chips can be in many states at once, making them more flexible and powerful.
And because it’s a completely different processing paradigm, quantum computers are said to require entirely new programming techniques.