Introducing Quil: A Practical Quantum Instruction Set Architecture

Rigetti Computing
2 min readAug 12, 2016

By Will Zeng, Robert Smith, and Spike Curtis
Software & Applications @Rigetti Computing

A few months back we posted about some of the exciting opportunities and challenges on the software side of quantum computing [The Quantum Software Challenge]. The field has seen important progress on both:

  1. developing the fundamental building blocks of scalable quantum computing hardware, and
  2. targeting the exciting classical/quantum hybrid algorithms in optimization and quantum simulation that are feasible for near-term devices.

In our work developing and understanding these near term applications we’ve developed a framework to help us work with the algorithms concretely. Today the Software and Applications team at Rigetti is excited to share the description of this work in our whitepaper [A Practical Quantum Instruction Set Architecture]. We have focused on a simple model that is compatible with the types of devices that are likely to be available first.

We’ll also be releasing some of the software described there soon to help quantum software engineers new and expert get into the details of the field. We think the best way to learn is to work with real code. Let us know if you’d find this useful too!

It’s an exciting time to be in quantum computing, and we look forward to your comments and suggestions. Any framework like this really is a living document.

We hope you find it as useful as we have!



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