New Google framework lets devs experiment with quantum algorithms

July 19, 2018 //By Rich Pell
New Google framework lets devs experiment with quantum algorithms
Tech giant Google (Mountain View, CA) has announced the public alpha of an open source framework for running algorithms on quantum computers that will be available in the near future.

Called Cirq, the framework is aimed at Noisy Intermediate Scale Quantum (NISQ) computers - devices with approximately 50 to 100 qubits and high-fidelity quantum gates. Cirq, says the company, is focused on near-term questions and helping researchers understand whether NISQ quantum computers are capable of solving computational problems of practical importance.

"A common problem when designing a quantum algorithm on a NISQ processor is how to take full advantage of these limited quantum devices — using resources to solve the hardest part of the problem rather than on overheads from poor mappings between the algorithm and hardware," says the Google AI Quantum Team in a blog post announcing Cirq. "Furthermore some quantum processors have complex geometric constraints and other nuances, and ignoring these will either result in faulty quantum computation, or a computation that is modified and sub-optimal."

Cirq is licensed under Apache 2, and is free to be modified or embedded in any commercial or open source package. Once installed, says the company, it enables researchers to write quantum algorithms for specific quantum processors.

"Cirq gives users fine tuned control over quantum circuits, specifying gate behavior using native gates, placing these gates appropriately on the device, and scheduling the timing of these gates within the constraints of the quantum hardware. Data structures are optimized for writing and compiling these quantum circuits to allow users to get the most out of NISQ architectures," the company says.

Cirq supports running these algorithms locally on a simulator, and is designed to easily integrate with future quantum hardware or larger simulators via the cloud. In the announcement, Google also listed a number of early adopters of Cirq - including Zapata Computing, QC Ware, Quantum Benchmark, Heisenberg Quantum Simulations, Cambridge Quantum Computing, and NASA - along with examples of their Cirq-related work.

Currently Google's Quantum AI Team is using Cirq to create circuits that run on the company's Bristlecone processor . In the

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