Microsoft Makes Quantum Computing Accessible to Developers with New Visual Studio and Q# Programming Language Preview

This week Microsoft released a preview of the “Microsoft Quantum Development Kit”  to developers worldwide. The preview features Q#, Microsoft’s attempt to simplify the physics for software developers so they can focus on writing functional applications. I fully support Microsoft’s efforts to mainstream quantum computing. However, I’m not a huge fan of the proprietary nature of Visual Studio.

The interesting part of this release for me is Q#. This brand new “quantum-focused” programming language is designed to give developers the fastest path to quantum programming. I wonder if this will lead to a quantum programming language “platform war.” I suspect that most data scientists are already using Python. I bet they aren’t going to be too excited about learning a new language.

A Head Start

Microsoft has assembled a collection of ready-to-use building blocks, code samples, and existing libraries to help you learn quantum development. With this head start, the idea is that Visual Studio and Q# can take you from beginner to building your first quantum solution in a very short time. Criticism aside, this is an important announcement for quantum computing. I strongly suggest you check out Krysta Svore’s very well done video introduction. Krysta is a principal researcher at Microsoft.

Microsoft has fired the first real volley in support of quantum software development. True, there have been other efforts. I think Visual Studio will put quantum into the hands of more developers than all those other efforts combined. Adoption will be key. If Microsoft pulls this off, they’ll be in the pole position in the quantum computing race in the minds of developers everywhere.