In a new blog post, Microsoft has announced several new features and other incentives for users of its Azure Quantum cloud platform. This include Quantum Credits of up to $10,000, direct connection to Quantum Python SDKs, Jupyter Notebooks, and several new simulators for larger and more complex simulation tasks. As the quantum computing market continues to grow, it will become increasingly competitive and we expect to see more development like these going forward which are intended to make it easier for new users to get started or existing users who are using a competitor’s platform try out a different platform to see if the new one is any better.

Quantum Credits
Microsoft is offering up to $10,000 USD in credits for use on quantum hardware from IonQ or Honeywell, through Azure Quantum. Those wishing to apply for these credits can complete an application here. The number of credits available is limited so Microsoft will determine credit allocation based upon potential value from a research, educational, or commercial point of view.

Direct Connection to Quantum Python SDK’s
Although Microsoft’s main quantum programming language is Q#, many of the other quantum platforms are using programming software development kits (SDKs) based upon the Python programming language. In order to encourage users who already have experience with these other platforms, Microsoft is now providing a direct connection so that these users can try out their quantum programs developed with these other platforms on Azure Quantum with a minimal amount of changes. Although Microsoft did not explicitly say exactly which of the Python based SDKs this will include, but the main Python based SDKs currently in use are Qiskit, Cirq, Forest, ProjectQ and Strawberry Fields. In addition, if there are features or capabilities available in Q# that are not available in the Python SDK, users will be able call these Q# routines from their Python code.

Jupyter Notebooks in the Azure Quantum Portal
Microsoft will include free access to Jupyter Notebooks in the Azure Quantum Portal. This will allow someone to develop Q# and Python applications for the Azure Quantum computers without having to install an SDK on their own system. Access will be through the internet and jobs can be submitted without leaving the Azure Quantum portal.

Additional Simulators
Microsoft is introducing three new simulators including a free full state cloud simulator for larger circuits that may be difficult to simulate on your local computer, an open systems simulator for modelling noise, and a stabilizer simulator (based upon the Gottesman–Knill theorem) that simulates very large quantum circuits as long as the circuit doesn’t include the T-gate or the Toffoli gate.

For additional information about these new features and incentives, you can view a recently posted blog on the Microsoft website available here.

June 10, 2021