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Q# Debugging Improved in Quantum Development Kit Update

Microsoft updated its bleeding-edge Quantum Development Kit with several enhancements, including an improved debugging experience.

The kit, using the Q# programming language, is Microsoft's vanguard to next-gen quantum computing, a mysterious new paradigm based on quantum physics that Wired yesterday characterized as being years away from maturing to the point of being broadly practical.

Nevertheless, Microsoft has joined industry heavyweights such as Google, IBM and Intel to get in on the ground floor.

The Microsoft Quantum Development Kit is Redmond's approach, leveraging Q# (Q Sharp), a domain-specific programming language used for expressing quantum algorithms.

Q# is integrated with Visual Studio and the Visual Studio Code editor and works with the Python programming language, part of Microsoft's enterprise-grade development tools designed to help developers get started with quantum programming on Windows, macOS or Linux.

The kit -- still in preview at version 0.2.1806 -- was foreshadowed last September and unveiled last December, in accordance with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella naming quantum computing as one of the three primary points of focus for the company, along with two other game-changing technologies that will shape the future: mixed reality and artificial intelligence (AI).

Last Friday, Microsoft announced an update to the kit, with enhanced debugging, faster simulations and contributions from the Q# community heading the list of improvements.

"This update includes new debugging functionality within Visual Studio," Microsoft said in a blog post. "The probability of measuring a '1' on a qubit is now automatically shown in the Visual Studio debugging window, making it easier to check the accuracy of your code. The release also improves the display of variable properties, enhancing the readability of the quantum state."

Simulations, meanwhile, are said to be markedly faster no matter the number of qubits (a unit of quantum information analogous to the classical binary bit) required.

From the community comes new helper functions and operations along with new samples to improve the onboarding and debugging experience.

Proving that individuals are hopping on the bandwagon along with major industry players, the kit's release notes list five community contributions.

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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