Intel releases software platform for quantum computing developers

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(Reuters) – Intel Corp (INTC.O) on Tuesday released a software platform for developers to build quantum algorithms that can eventually run on a quantum computer that the chip giant is trying to build.

The platform, called Intel Quantum SDK, would for now allow those algorithms to run on a simulated quantum computing system, said Anne Matsuura, Intel Labs’ head of quantum applications and architecture.

Quantum computing is based on quantum physics and in theory can perform calculations quicker than conventional computers.

Matsuura said developers can use the long-established programming language C++ to build quantum algorithms, making it more accessible for people without quantum computing expertise.

“The Intel Quantum SDK helps programmers get ready for future large-scale commercial quantum computers,” Matsuura said in a statement. “It will also advance the industry by creating a community of developers that will accelerate the development of applications.”

The number of companies pursuing quantum computer hardware is mushrooming, from big corporations such as IBM Corp (IBM.N) and Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Google to startups, yet so far none have made a machine that makes a significant dent in the field.

Using quantum computing simulators, such as the one Intel has built, is therefore important to train developers and work on algorithms in the meantime, Intel said.

Intel so far does not have a quantum computer available for customers to use, but James Clarke, who in charge of quantum hardware at Intel, said the company was working on building one based on its silicon chip-making technology.

“What we’re doing at Intel is we’re making transistors very close to each other, operating them at low temperature and with single electrons and having these act as qubits,” Clarke explained to Reuters.

Qubits, or quantum bits, are the basic unit of quantum computing.

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