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Classiq, Microsoft Team on Quantum Computing for Academia

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Classiq launched a global program for quantum software research and education, dedicated to universities and educational institutions offering Classiq’s advanced quantum computing platform and Microsoft Azure Quantum’s cloud access to quantum computers. University professors, students and researchers will use the combined offering to teach courses and conduct research on all facets of quantum computing.

In an interview with EE Times, Classiq CEO Nir Minerbi said Classiq’s academic program is an essential part of its broader strategy to expand the platform’s reach and promote the quantum computing business.

Classiq CEO Nir Minerbi.
Classiq CEO Nir Minerbi. (Source: Classiq)

“We believe that offering this program will give students the tools and knowledge they need to learn practical quantum software-development skills while also providing researchers with a streamlined means of developing advanced quantum computing algorithms capable of taking advantage of ever more powerful quantum hardware,” he said. “In addition, our program enables students and researchers to test, validate and run their quantum programs on real hardware, providing valuable real-world experience. Ultimately, we think that our academic program will have a significant impact on the quantum computing community by promoting education and research in the field—and helping to drive innovation and progress in the industry.”

Quantum software future

Classiq and Microsoft are among the top companies developing quantum computing software. The quantum stack developed by the firms advances Microsoft’s vision for quantum programming languages, which was published in the 2020 issue of Nature.

Universities currently use Classiq’s platform for research and courses on quantum computing. Researchers and students studying quantum computing have freedom thanks to the high-level modeling method. With this freedom, they can easily program quantum computers, visualize intricate quantum circuits and concentrate on building applications rather than gate-level code.

The Classiq synthesis engine enables researchers to not only quickly investigate huge, complicated quantum circuits dedicated to the fault-tolerant regime but also construct cutting-edge circuits for near-term quantum devices. The QIR-coded circuits—an intermediate representation for quantum programs, developed by Microsoft, naturally—may then be transferred to Microsoft’s resource-estimate platform, giving the researcher the previously unheard-of ability to create massively parallel quantum applications.

While algorithms for quantum computers have so far been built using low-level tools with high development times, according to Minerbi, Classiq’s platform aims to model these algorithms at a much higher level of abstraction. It basically provides the quantum equivalent of chip design tools for conventional systems provided by companies like Cadence. This capability will improve the design and implementation techniques.

“The future of quantum computing is being shaped by exciting developments in hardware, with computational power and qubit counts scaling faster than previously projected,” Minerbi said. “However, there are significant challenges when it comes to programming quantum software that can take full advantage of this growing power. As a leader in the field of quantum software design automation, we’re well-positioned to help drive the industry’s growth. Our platform is designed to be scalable and flexible, with high-level user-defined functional inputs, automated hardware-aware optimization and intelligent circuit synthesis. With the Classiq platform, we’re already enabling users to develop quantum code for 1,000-qubit–plus computers.”

Today, a modern processor is useless without an operating system and support software tools. The same applies to quantum computers. Software is just as vital as hardware when it comes to fueling a quantum revolution.

As a result of the differences between classical and quantum programming, it is difficult to locate professionals in quantum programming due to the difficulty of building quantum software. Experts in quantum programming must have knowledge of both software engineering and quantum physics.

Classiq overcomes the obstacles in the development of quantum computing by bridging the gap between simple quantum logic and sophisticated quantum logic. The company adds a new layer to the quantum software stack, which raises the level of abstraction and enables developers to apply their ideas and concepts without having to create the specific quantum circuit at the gate level.

“Classiq has been instrumental in a variety of real-world applications and research projects,” Minerbi said. “For example, top universities like Carnegie Mellon have used Classiq for educational purposes, while companies like Rolls-Royce have employed the platform for advanced computational fluid dynamics [CFD] simulations. Additionally, NTT Data has utilized Classiq for credit risk analysis. These are just a few examples of how the Classiq platform is being leveraged across a range of industries to help drive innovation and progress in the field of quantum computing.”

Rolls-Royce designs quantum algorithms for CFD simulations using the Classiq platform.

CFD is indispensable for many aerospace applications, including airflow simulation. CFD is a tremendously complex set of partial differential equations that cannot be solved by conventional computers or even HPCs (it takes exponential time proportional to the complexity of the problem).

“Quantum computers may give exponentially faster performance for these calculations,” Minerbi said. “Although several programmers are accustomed to it, Python is a valuable language. Python should serve as a wrapper for a domain-specific language for quantum computing. We did just this with our quantum description language.”

Microsoft partnership.
Microsoft partnership. (Source: Classiq)
Classiq implementation.
Classiq implementation. (Source: Classiq)

Academics and universities

Microsoft is a major player in the education space, serving colleges and institutions all around the world. Software, security, infrastructure management and cloud products are all part of Microsoft’s extensive educational product line. Azure Quantum is a cloud provider of quantum computing and provides access to a large suite of quantum simulators and quantum computers. One of the first public clouds to provide access to Rigetti’s 80-qubit device and Ionq’s new Aria machine is Microsoft. Students and researchers will get access to cutting-edge equipment with Azure Quantum.

The combination of Classiq and Microsoft’s quantum stack will increase the accessibility of top quantum computing research tools. This partnership between two pioneers in quantum computing will give academic users a smooth transition from advanced quantum programming adoption simplification to execution on quantum machines.

Microsoft’s reach and experience in the academic and quantum markets, combined with Classiq’s software platform, will offer an approachable end-to-end environment dedicated to propelling computer science education and quantum computing research to new heights.

“Our collaboration with Azure Quantum is an important part of our vision for advancing the quantum computing industry,” Minerbi said.

“By collaborating with Microsoft, we’re able to offer a seamless integration between our software design platform and Azure Quantum’s quantum computing hardware and resource estimation service,” he added. “This pairing provides researchers and educators with critical insight into the design of quantum applications for the fault-tolerant quantum computers of tomorrow. We believe that this collaboration will be highly beneficial for researchers and educators, providing them with the tools and resources needed to accelerate their quantum computing research and education efforts.”

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