To fill the fast-increasing number of openings in quantum, copying and pasting even the most expert knowledge of classical computers into the quantum world won't exactly cut it. System architects, software engineers, data analysts -- at first glance, the jobs that are hot in the quantum computing sector don't sound all that different from the tech roles we're already familiar with. Which deal with the classical computers we know well, from smartphones to supercomputers. But to fill the burgeoning opportunities in quantum, transferring even the most expert knowledge of classical computers into the quantum world just won't cut it. In this special feature, ZDNet examines technology's role in helping business leaders build tomorrow's workforce, and employees keep their skills up to date and grow their careers.
Candidates will have to prove during the test that they can create and execute quantum computing programs using IBM's Qiskit. Developers can now be officially quantum-certified. IBM has unveiled a quantum developer certification which it says, once devs have passed the 60-question test, will act as proof of at least some of the skills required to build and run quantum programs. The certification, unsurprisingly, focuses on IBM's own quantum computing software development kit (SDK), Qiskit, which is an open-source platform based on Python scripts that enables developers to carry out a range of quantum experiments, from prototyping quantum algorithms to executing code on cloud-based quantum devices. Candidates to the new certification will have to prove during the test that they can create and execute quantum computing programs on IBM computers and simulators using Qiskit.
Forty years after it first began to dabble in quantum computing, IBM is ready to expand the technology out of the lab and into more practical applications -- like supercomputing! The company has already hit a number of development milestones since it released its previous quantum roadmap in 2020, including the 127-qubit Eagle processor that uses quantum circuits and the Qiskit Runtime API. IBM announced on Wednesday that it plans to further scale its quantum ambitions and has revised the 2020 roadmap with an even loftier goal of operating a 4,000-qubit system by 2025. Before it sets about building the biggest quantum computer to date, IBM plans release its 433-qubit Osprey chip later this year and migrate the Qiskit Runtime to the cloud in 2023, "bringing a serverless approach into the core quantum software stack," per Wednesday's release. Those products will be followed later that year by Condor, a quantum chip IBM is billing as "the world's first universal quantum processor with over 1,000 qubits."
The advent of quantum computers has required software solutions of a certain level to provide the essential basis for a quantum development environment for everyone. IBM, with its latest open-source software development kit, Qiskit, aims to create a programming environment where the complexity of the underlying technology is no longer a problem for users. In the future, a program will have to employ vast quantum and classical resources, and the solution will therefore have to be optimized at the speed of light. In an interview with EE Times, Blake Johnson, Quantum Platform Lead at IBM Quantum, pointed out that quantum technology is showing huge success and the software foundation needs to be laid for extensive use in the future. The Qiskit project is an open-source framework for working with quantum circuits and algorithms.
During last September's Ignite conference, Microsoft heavily emphasized its quantum computing efforts and launched both its Q# programming language and development kits. This year, the focus is on other things, and the announcements about quantum are few and far between (and our understanding is that Microsoft, unlike some of its competitors, doesn't have a working quantum computing prototype yet). It did, however, announce an addition to its Quantum Development Kit that brings a new chemical simulation library to tools for getting started with quantum computing. While there are plenty of applications for quantum computing once it becomes a reality, quite a few experts are betting on chemical simulations as one of the first areas where developers will be able to reap the fruits of this new computing paradigm. It's maybe no surprise then that Microsoft is also betting on this.