Time crystals, Microwaves and Diamonds have Quantum computing in common. Traditional computers use bits, but quantum computers use qubits. It can be coupled with a cocktail of forces from quantum physics. The machines can process a whole lot of information. But they are not flowless. The process needs right programming languages to properly compute on quantum computers.
Programming quantum computers needs awareness of “entanglement”. It is a computational multiplier for qubits of sorts. Two qubits get entangled and actions on one qubit can change the value of the other. This gave rise to Einstein’s characterization of “spooky action at a distance.” While programming, discarding one qubit of its entanglement with another qubit can destroy the data stored in the other.
MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence researchers aimed to create their own programming language for quantum computing. They have named it Twist. This language can describe and verify which pieces of data are entangled in a quantum program. Twist uses a concept called purity. This enforces the absence of entanglement and results in more intuitive programs.
The nascent field can feel a little flashy and futuristic. The images of mammoth wiry gold machines coming to mind. Quantum computers have potential for computational breakthroughs in classically unsolvable tasks. This includes cryptographic and communication protocols. One main challenge in computational sciences is dealing with the complexity of the problem. A classical digital computer would need a very large exponential number of bits to be able to process such a simulation. But a quantum computer can do it by using a very small number of qubits. It needs the right programs.
Untangling quantum entanglement
Scientists gave an example of a wooden box that has a thousand cables protruding out from one side. Any cable all the way out of the box can be pulled or pushed all the way in.
After sometime, the cables form a pattern of bits. This box is the memory of a classical computer. A program for this computer is a sequence of instructions compared to when and how to pull on the cables.
There is another identical-looking box. A cable has been tugged on this. You will notice a couple of other cables are pulled back inside. So, inside the box, these cables are entangled with each other.
The second box is the analogy for a quantum computer. We need to understand the meaning of a quantum program and the entanglement present in its data. But the detection of entanglement is not easy. quantum programmers have to reason about entanglement by hand. Here Twist is going to help in managing some of those interlaced pieces.