Cambridge Quantum open sources SDK as quantum computing software becomes key

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In quantum computing, qubits can do much more than the ones and zeros of classical computing, but the sector needs software to advance its aims. (Getty Images)

Cambridge Quantum has made the latest version of its TKET (pronounced “ticket”) hardware-agnostic quantum software development kit generally available on an open source basis.

The move comes as the quantum computing sector is starting to turn its attention from the race to develop high-qubit systems to the software that increasingly will be necessary for programming these systems and setting them to work on specific problems to solve. Just last week in a presentation during Questex’ Sensors Converge event, Christian Bauer, Theory Group Leader and PI of Quantum Computing for the Physics Division of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, identified software and the overall challenge of programming quantum computers as an issue that is for now keeping the sector from reach its full potential. Companies such as Classiq and Quantum Machines also recently have highlighted this issue.

“Making all the source code available to the community allows easier integration, modification and issue tracking from all users,” Cambridge Quantum said in an email to Fierce Electronics. “All members of the quantum software community will now be able to make their own contributions and develop their own extensions to the codebase, under the permissive Apache 2.0 license.”

The company added that TKET is compatible with other quantum languages, such as Qiskit, Cirq, Q#, and other via extension modules.

Cambridge itself appears ticketed to play a bigger role in that evolution. Last June, Honeywell announced that it would merge its quantum computing business with Cambridge Quantum, a company it already held an investment in, and invest an additional $270 million to $300 million in the resulting spin-off. That deal is expected to close during the fourth quarter.

Cambridge Quantum CEO Ilyas Khan, CEO of CQ, said in a statement on the open source availability, “We first announced that TKET would be available on an ‘open-access’ basis earlier this year, with a commitment to become fully open-sourced by the end of 2021.” He said the company’s developer community has experience “astonishing” growth in the interim.

In the same statement, Ross Duncan, Head of Software at CQ added, “Minimising gate count and execution time are very important in this Noisy Intermediate Scale Quantum (NISQ) era. TKET combines high-level hardware-agnostic optimisation for quantum circuits with target specific compilation passes for the chosen quantum device. This helps quantum computing users move seamlessly between quantum platforms, while maintaining consistent high performance. Users need only to focus on developing their quantum applications, not rewriting code around the idiosyncrasies of any particular hardware. At the same time, we help quantum computing hardware companies ensure that they can get the best performance from their processors.”

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