Microsoft has released a preview version of its Quantum Development Kit, aimed at developers looking to get a headstart in quantum computing.
It includes Microsoft's own Q# language and library, a complier, a local quantum computing simulator, and an extension for Visual Studio developer tools.
It also has a 'quantum trace simulator', which uses the power of Microsoft's Azure cloud to simulate larger-scale quantum calculation, which is currently considered to be more than 40 qubits.
All these features and tools are not offering 'quantum computing for dummies' - far from it. Rather, they require developers to have a strong grasp of a form of computing that flips traditional computing on it head.
In the simple of terms, traditional computers use binary code formed of bits, which exist in one of two states - on or off - thereby governing how data is read and computed upon in transistor arrays that make up computer hardware.
Quantum computing uses qubits that can be both on and off at the same time until they are 'observed' by a programme, which means they can facilitate masses more computational equations than traditional bits, yet not require vast amounts of chip transistors or storage.
The result ought to be radically faster and more powerful computers. However, while quantum computing has been around for years, it is still in its very early stages of development.
Microsoft is among a number of companies keen to get ahead of the game, with the development kit enabling the creation and testing of apps, that could theoretically be eventually ported over to a topological quantum computer.
This is all good futuristic stuff, but quantum computing can still give even the best boffins a headache.
So Microsoft wants to create a quantum computing ecosystem that bypasses the need for a deep understanding of physics and computing (leaving all that stuff to Microsoft) and instead enabling developers to build upon a new computing framework.
"What you're going to see as a developer is the opportunity to tie into tools that you already know well, services you already know well," said Todd Holmdahl, the corporate vice president in charge of Microsoft's quantum effort.
"There will be a twist with quantum computing, but it's our job to make it as easy as possible for the developers who know and love us to be able to use these new tools that could potentially do some things exponentially faster - which means going from a billion years on a classical computer to a couple hours on a quantum computer."
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