Qiskit: IBM’s Gift to Quantum Algorithm Developers Gets More Giftier
Qiskit – Write once, target multiple architectures
Excerpts and salient points ~
+ From its outset, our open-source Qiskit quantum computing framework has been designed to be extensible, and to support research beyond the IBM quantum systems based on superconducting qubits. This inherent flexibility allows for straightforward integration of additional gates, optimization passes, and providers (sources of different systems). Taken together, Qiskit has the flexibility to target different underlying quantum hardware with minimal additions to its code base. To demonstrate this, we have recently added support in Qiskit for trapped ion-based quantum computing devices, and enabled access to the five-qubit trapped ion device at the University of Innsbruck (UIBK) hosted by Alpine Quantum Technologies (AQT). This device resides in Innsbruck Austria, nearly 6,500 km away from where the IBM quantum systems in New York.
With this article, we aimed to illustrate how the Qiskit framework allows simple extension mechanisms to promote the exploration of alternative quantum computing hardware architectures.
+ Supporting a new qubit platform in Qiskit requires two components. First, if the native gates do not currently exist, they must be specified. For the case of trapped ions, this involved specifying the global MS gate, and its corresponding two-qubit building block the XX-rotation gate (rxx). Once defined, the decomposition rules between different basis gates must added. This allows the Qiskit transpiler to take an input circuit defined in one basis, and output the same circuit rewritten in any other supported gate set. The decomposition between cx, rxx, and global MS gates is shown below.
+ Second, in order to execute the circuits, the new quantum computing device must be reachable. In Qiskit, this entails writing a ‘provider’ that handles the API connections, authentication, as well as job submission and retrieval between Qiskit and the host backend. The format for this is spelled out in the Qiskit Specification. Once written, a user can write a quantum circuit in Qiskit, and by simply importing the provider, compile it for the devices accessible via that provider. This means that any of the libraries built into Qiskit, be it for quantum applications and algorithms (Aqua), or benchmarking and noise estimation tools (Ignis), can all be developed and applied to multiple quantum computing technologies effortlessly.
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