July 5, 2013

New Quipper Language is Like Java for Quantum Computers

Over at NewScientist, Sophie Hebden writes that a quantum computing now has its first practical, high-level programming language. And while today’s devices are not ready for most practical applications, the new Quipper language could guide the design of future machines and make them easier to program when they do arrive.

Now Peter Selinger of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada, and colleagues have brought the field up to speed by creating Quipper, the first high-level quantum programming language. Quipper is designed to express instructions in terms of bigger concepts, and to make it easy to bring together multiple algorithms in a modular way. High-level languages for classical computers such as Java do most of the heavy lifting in modern computation. Quipper is based on a classical programming language called Haskell, which is particularly suited to programming for physics applications. What Selinger’s team has done is to customise it to deal with qubits.

Quipper does not support the only quantum computer in the market today, the D-wave system. It uses a novel approach called adiabatic quantum computing and so is not currently compatible with Quipper.

Read the Full Story or download the paper on Quipper (PDF).

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