back to article Microsoft asks devs for quantum leap of faith

Those without access to a quantum computer can console themselves with Microsoft's Quantum Development Kit, introduced as a preview release on Monday. Quantum computing has been around as as a plausible idea since the 1980s, based on earlier theoretical work on quantum information systems. But it would take until 2011 before …

  1. WibbleMe

    Why not simply make a typescript compiler for Q# rather than asking the brains of over stretched developers to learn yet another code in their spare time.

    1. druck Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Why not cut the bullshit about a computer that computes a billion parallel universes at the same time and admit that not one real problem has been solved with a quantum computer, and probably never will be, even without Microsoft jumping on the bandwagon with another supposed language.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        If it helps them find a version of Windows without slurping and TIFKAM, I'm all for it.

        1. hplasm
          Boffin

          No Slurp?

          "If it helps them find a version of Windows without slurping and TIFKAM, I'm all for it."

          Hardly - they'll know everything about you instantly, and have infinite places to hide the start menu.

          1. mosw

            Start Menu

            "...and have infinite places to hide the start menu."

            The start menu will be both everywhere and nowhere at the same time. The uncertainty principle will just mean that the more you need it the harder it will be to identify its specific location.

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Unhappy

      "Why not simply make a typescript compiler for Q#"

      It's the "pound" part, like C-pound, F-pound, and now Q-pound, intended to lock you into using Micro-shaft solutions. And when I look at it I see too much "magic stuff" and it bothers me...

      I'd prefer a lingo called 'Q' that had a gcc or clang back-end. I really do NOT want to be locked-in with a Micro-shaft "solution".

  2. Michael Hoffmann Silver badge
    Coat

    I ran the code while my cat was snoozing under the monitor and now I can't tell if he's alive or dead.

    <ba ching boom>

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Just don't look.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "and now I can't tell if he's alive or dead."

      Shaking a box of crunchies tends to bring life to the deadest looking of cats!

    3. hplasm
      Coat

      Cat Test

      "I ran the code while my cat was snoozing under the monitor and now I can't tell if he's alive or dead."

      Try moving the mouse...

  3. Milton

    Overcoming a wee tad of scepticism

    Like many, I suspect that while quantum computing holds promise, it's being grossly over-hyped right now (yes, like so-called AI) and, for practical results, may remain "a few years away" for a decade or two. (Indeed, there are defensible grounds for believing that true AI will not exist until quantum computing actually works to scale.)

    As for Q#, which I've taken a look at (without, I may add, pretending to understand all of it during an hour's perusal!) I can make one confident prediction. Most Reg readers long since realised the truth of the fact that where coding is concerned there are indeed sheep and goats. We've all worked in places where there were both (and of course, management were incapable of understanding the difference). Now, though, I predict that we new a new animal analogy. Henceforth, we'll have to refer to sheep, goats, and ... Racehorses? Gorillas? Any ideas ...?

    1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

      Re: Racehorses? Gorillas? Any ideas ...?

      Cats... as in Schrödinger's cat.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Racehorses? Gorillas? Any ideas ...?

        "we'll have to refer to sheep, goats, and ..."

        Ken's suggestion of 'cats' is a good answer.

        Or we could use anything invented by the mind of Lewis Carol.

    2. Teiwaz

      Re: Overcoming a wee tad of scepticism

      Now, though, I predict that we new a new animal analogy. Henceforth, we'll have to refer to sheep, goats, and ... Racehorses? Gorillas? Any ideas ...?

      Baldersnatches...definitely

    3. handleoclast
      Coat

      Re: Overcoming a wee tad of scepticism

      Henceforth, we'll have to refer to sheep, goats, and ..

      Shoats*, obviously. They're quantum-entangled and you don't know whether they're sheep or goats until you observe them.

      Or geeps, if they're a bit of both.

      *Yes, shoats exist. They're unrelated to sheep or goats. But there's no reason to let facts get in the way of a joke.

  4. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    To enable traditional coders to transition to new concepts more easily...

    ...they've retained the same format of error message we are all familiar with e.g.,

    Severity Code Description Project File Line Suppression State

    Warning The command ""C:\Users\Nick\source\repos\Bell\packages\Microsoft.Quantum.Development.Kit.0.1.1712.901-preview\build\..\tools\qsc\qsc.exe" --input "Bell.qs" --references "C:\Users\Nick\source\repos\Bell\packages\Microsoft.Quantum.Canon.0.1.1712.901-preview\lib\net461\Microsoft.Quantum.Canon.dll" "C:\Users\Nick\source\repos\Bell\packages\Microsoft.Quantum.Development.Kit.0.1.1712.901-preview\lib\net461\Microsoft.Quantum.MetaData.dll" "C:\Users\Nick\source\repos\Bell\packages\Microsoft.Quantum.Development.Kit.0.1.1712.901-preview\lib\net461\Microsoft.Quantum.Primitives.dll" "C:\Users\Nick\source\repos\Bell\packages\Microsoft.Quantum.Development.Kit.0.1.1712.901-preview\lib\net461\Microsoft.Quantum.Simulation.Common.dll" "C:\Users\Nick\source\repos\Bell\packages\Microsoft.Quantum.Development.Kit.0.1.1712.901-preview\lib\net461\Microsoft.Quantum.Simulation.Core.dll" "C:\Users\Nick\source\repos\Bell\packages\Microsoft.Quantum.Development.Kit.0.1.1712.901-preview\lib\net461\Microsoft.Quantum.Simulation.QCTraceSimulatorRuntime.dll" "C:\Users\Nick\source\repos\Bell\packages\Microsoft.Quantum.Development.Kit.0.1.1712.901-preview\lib\net461\Microsoft.Quantum.Simulation.Simulators.dll" "C:\Users\Nick\source\repos\Bell\packages\System.ValueTuple.4.4.0\lib\net461\System.ValueTuple.dll" --outputpath obj\qsharp\src\" exited with code -1. Bell

    Severity Code Description Project File Line Suppression State

    Warning The namespace body is invalid Bell C:\Users\Nick\source\repos\Bell\Bell\Bell.qs 1

    Warning Symbol Set is undefined Bell C:\Users\Nick\source\repos\Bell\Bell\Bell.qs 17

    Warning Symbol Set is undefined Bell C:\Users\Nick\source\repos\Bell\Bell\Bell.qs 18

    Warning Symbol Set is undefined Bell C:\Users\Nick\source\repos\Bell\Bell\Bell.qs 35

    Warning Symbol Set is undefined Bell C:\Users\Nick\source\repos\Bell\Bell\Bell.qs 36

    Ahh, bliss!

    1. hplasm
      Happy

      Re: To enable traditional coders to transition to new concepts more easily...

      "...they've retained the same format of error message we are all familiar with e.g.,"

      "An Unknown Error has Occurred Somewhere Unknown."

  5. K.o.R
    Boffin

    Obligatory "a quantum leap is an unimaginably small distance if it can even be considered a distance, so not really asking for much faith" comment.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Quantum? You couldn't even get the basics right, Microsoft.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WinFS

    Remember WinFS? Was supposed to be the successor to NTFS.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Quantum? You couldn't even get the basics right, Microsoft.

      They abandoned WinFS in favour of ReFS, which has been released and has been available for use since Server 2012 (IIRC, if not 2016) and Windows 10.

      I tried formatting a disk to it a while back and got an error. It looked to be fairly 'beta' quality and required some virtual volume being configured in order to use it so I didn't bother going any further.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Quantum? You couldn't even get the basics right, Microsoft.

        "I tried formatting a disk to it a while back and got an error."

        ReFS is production quality now, and also has most of the features of NTFS.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Quantum? You couldn't even get the basics right, Microsoft.

          "ReFS is production quality now, and also has most of the features of NTFS."

          Good news, I'll give it another go. Do you know if it is recommended over NTFS? I have considered it for DB servers but didn't want to be first to say "jump". :)

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Quantum? You couldn't even get the basics right, Microsoft.

      "Remember WinFS"

      My guess is that it smashed itself up against the wall of reality, and MShaft discovered how grossly inefficient it was [like the registry, not to be confused with 'El Reg'].

      ReFS (the new 'WinFS' incarnation, apparently) doesn't sound like it's going to be much better. It sounds like MShaft's attempt to embrace, extend, and extinguish ZFS [which wouldn't surprise me]. but I can boot FreeBSD from a ZFS-only file system. I bet you [still] can't do that (boot windows) with ReFS.

  7. Schultz
    Boffin

    ... a computer that computes in a billion parallel universes at the same time... -- NOT

    You could say that our universe calculates itself. Exactly. Exclusively. Every particle (atom, molecule, ...) is continually solving it's Hamiltonian in real time, including all perturbations from the rest of the universe. You want to calculate another universe, you need another universe.

    That's how those things scale.

    1. Anonymous Bullard

      Re: ... a computer that computes in a billion parallel universes at the same time... -- NOT

      It should say "sub-universe"... which brings another troubling question...

      What if we're in a sub-universe?

      1. hplasm
        Happy

        Re: ... a computer that computes in a billion parallel universes at the same time... -- NOT

        "What if we're in a sub-universe?"

        A ravishing evernew place called Underverse.? Threshold! Take us to Threshold! No, not Redmond...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: ... a computer that computes in a billion parallel universes at the same time... -- NOT

        "What if we're in a sub-universe?"

        Or a simulation running on someone's (Musk's?) quantum computer?

  8. Mage

    sharing information through quantum entanglement,

    Um, an aid to encryption by allowing detection of tampering. The quantum entanglement itself by definition can't be used as a communications medium. Not a basis for an Ansible.

    An analogy

    Imagine two randomly ordered packs of cards that happen to be in the same order. But you don't know what it is. If you shuffle one the other is shuffled identically, instantly, but holder of other pack doesn't know it's been shuffled. They can both look and then at light speed share the results with each other. If they don't match, then the messages or the card packs have been tampered with.

  9. Teiwaz
    Linux

    Parallel..erm...ograms?

    They want to increase slurp beyond perceived reality?

    The first thing to realize about parallel universes, the Guide says, is that they are not parallel.

    It is also important to realize that they are not, strictly speaking, universes either, but it is easiest if you try and realize that a little later, after you've realized that everything you've realized up to that moment is not true.

    The reason they are not universes is that any given universe is not actually a thing as such, but is just a way of looking at what is generally known as the WSOGMM, or Whole Sort of General Mish Mash. The Whole Sort of General Mish Mash doesn't actually exist either, but it is just the sum total of all the different ways there would be of looking at it if it did.

    Mostly Harmless by Douglass Adams (his dark phase)

    There's probably nothing in those boxes but penguins....

    icon : there's penguins in the boxes, guaranteed....OSS and metaphorical.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Parallel..erm...ograms?

      how do we KNOW that the simulation engine creating those simulated qubits aren't just pseudo-random algorithms, such that calling your 'whatever' function (that's supposed to entangle them) isn't just forcing them into the next predictable number in the sequence?

      Just wanted to point that out.

      also just as bad if they're 2 parallel threads looking at the EXACT! SAME! ENTROPY!!

      not much "entanglement" there, yeah...

      icon, because, "black box" doesn't help them.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    1. Teiwaz

      Quantum Leap....

      No Scott Bakula then?

      No Scott Bakula Now.

  11. SVV

    instead of writing in C#, devs use a language called Q#.

    In which all code will be both terrible crap and a work of genius at the same time.

    Until you observe it. Then it'll just be terrible crap.

    1. hplasm
      Devil

      Re: instead of writing in C#, devs use a language called Q#.

      "In which all code will be both terrible crap and a work of genius at the same time.

      Until you observe it. Then it'll just be terrible crap."

      Isn't that already true?

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