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India Unveils its First Quantum Computer Simulator Toolkit

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) launched the country’s first Quantum Computer Simulator (QSim) Toolkit. The project was developed by the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bangalore, the Indian Institute of Technology in Roorkee (IIT-Roorkee), and the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC). Quantum Simulators are devices that allow scientists to study quantum effects, which are otherwise difficult to study in a lab. The simulator is a software library that simulates quantum computation on classical computers. The novelty of this simulator is that it includes various types of errors that can occur in a realistic practical device, a researcher explained.

QSim equips researchers to explore quantum algorithms under ideal conditions and helps them make the necessary arrangements for experiments to run on actual quantum hardware. It serves as an essential educational and research tool. It will bring together students and researchers in the field of quantum technology. The toolkit creates a platform to help users acquire the skills they need to program and design real quantum hardware. It allows them to write and debug quantum code that is essential for developing quantum algorithms.

According to IIT-Roorkee, quantum computing is a rapidly emerging computational paradigm, which can perform a variety of tasks with greater speed and efficiency than present-day digital computers. In cryptography, computational chemistry, and machine learning, quantum computing offers exponential growth in computing power. QSim is a first-of-its-kind toolkit to be indigenously developed. The developers expect it to be a vital tool in learning and understanding the practical aspects of programming.

The project was funded by MeitY. As part of the “Design and Development of Quantum Computing Toolkit (Simulator, Workbench) and Capacity Building” project, IIT-Roorkee supported the teams from IISc, CDAC-Bangalore, and CDAC-Hyderabad. IIT-Roorkee provided the required expertise in quantum computing and developing programmes to be tested and implemented on the toolkit.

The Minister of State, Electronics, and IT noted that the project is an important milestone for the Ministry and the entire country towards creating capabilities in quantum computing. A representative from IIT-Roorkee stated that the Institute will continue to play an active role in quantum computing education and research. The quantum simulator being launched is poised to be a key enabler in this direction.

IIT-Roorkee recently introduced two courses in quantum computation. The first course was launched through the E&ICT academy and was attended by over 400 participants. The second course was offered to scientists and officers at various government agencies and laboratories and was attended by close to 100 participants.

The Indian government has been focusing on building quantum computing resources. The finance minister had proposed an outlay of IN₹80 billion (US$1.08 billion) over five years for the National Mission on Quantum Technologies and Applications. MeitY had also announced a collaboration with a private tech giant earlier, to develop a Quantum Computing Applications Lab in the country, meant to provide access to quantum computing development environments to developers and academics.

The global quantum computing market size is expected to value US$487 million in 2021 and reach US$3,728 million by 2030 at a CAGR of 25.40% over the forecast period from 2021 to 2030. According to a report, the increasing investment in quantum computing, especially in the private sector, is a major driver of the quantum computing industry. Although quantum computing is in the early stages, companies are exploring new avenues in healthcare, military, and defence. Integration with emerging technologies resulting in Quantum-as-a-service (QaaS) will allow businesses to utilise quantum computing resources remotely, which is driving the adoption of the technology.

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