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Quantum Programming Languages

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Part of the Synthesis Lectures on Computer Architecture book series (SLCA)

Abstract

The concepts of data and operations for quantum computers could be drastically different from those of classical computers. For instance, the superposition principle dictates that quantum data (or qubit states) are intrinsically probabilistic as the information stored in a qubit can only be partially read out through an irreversible process called measurement which yields a probabilistic outcome. Operations on quantum data stored in one part of the memory could affect the data in another remote part due to a property called entanglement. What is perhaps more surprising is that quantum data cannot be duplicated into two independent copies, known as the no-cloning theorem. On top of those, one more layer of complexity is added by the fragility of quantum states. QC systems are susceptible to decoherence (i.e., spontaneous loss of quantum information in qubits) and operational errors. These are just some examples of the unique properties presented in quantum programs. They influence how a quantum program needs to be executed. Quantum algorithms typically involve a hybrid of classical and quantum processing. As such, a common strategy in quantum programming language design is to adapt and augment conventional programming language semantics and type systems to express the new properties of quantum programs.

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Ding, Y., Chong, F.T. (2020). Quantum Programming Languages. In: Quantum Computer Systems. Synthesis Lectures on Computer Architecture. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-01765-0_5

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