Cambridge Quantum (CQ) has announced the latest version of its hardware-agnostic quantum software development kit, TKET (pronounced “ticket”), is being made completely open-source, which is expected to provide a major boost to quantum computing development.
Open sourcing permits for more transparency of code, easier reporting of issues and more robust integrations. The rapidly growing quantum software community will now be able to make their own contributions or take inspiration and develop their own extensions to the codebase under the permissive Apache 2.0 license.
This development follows the open sourcing of extensions which began in Version 0.8; extensions are Python modules which enable TKET to work with different quantum devices and simulators, and provide integration with other quantum software tools. Extensions are available for all the main quantum hardware and software platforms.
Ross Duncan, head of software at CQ said, “Minimizing gate count and execution time are very important in this noisy intermediate scale quantum (NISQ) era. TKET combines high-level hardware-agnostic optimization for quantum circuits with target specific compilation passes for the chosen quantum device. This helps quantum computing users move seamlessly between quantum platforms, while maintaining consistent high performance. Users need only to focus on developing their quantum applications, not rewriting code around the idiosyncrasies of any particular hardware. At the same time, we help quantum computing hardware companies ensure that they can get the best performance from their processors.”
Ilyas Khan, CEO of CQ, commented, “We first announced that TKET would be available on an ‘open-access’ basis earlier this year, with a commitment to become fully open sourced by the end of this year. During that period, a global community of software developers embraced our class leading product that delivers the best possible performance, whilst utilising existing platforms such as Qiskit and Cirq, as well as the largest collection of quantum processors available. The growth of the global TKET community has been astonishing and I am so pleased that we can now complete this part of our journey.”
A company spokesperson added that this move echoes earlier open source projects such as Linux or Android, or the opening of mobile app stores to the global developer community. Making TKET open source will give algorithm and software developers access to most of the world’s quantum hardware in a single environment, allowing them to try out their code on different hardware platforms without the need for rewriting.
It also means that all quantum developers and engineers will benefit collectively from new features developed in the community, as well as the greater stability and performance offered by TKET. Since TKET integrates with other major quantum software platforms such as Qiskit, Cirq and Q#, this move will also help foster the development of a single, global developer community focused on the goal of achieving useful quantum computing with real-world application.
The decision to make TKET open source comes ahead of Cambridge Quantum’s combination with Honeywell which is on track to be achieved by the end of Q4 2021. The new company under Honeywell will offer a quantum computer and a full suite of software, including a quantum operating system. These technologies will support customers’ needs for improved computing in various areas, including cybersecurity, drug discovery and delivery, materials science, finance, and optimization in all major industrial markets. The company will also focus on advancing natural language processing to fully exploit the possibilities of quantum artificial intelligence.
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