Twist keeps tabs on data entanglement to keep reins on buggy quantum code
(SPECTRUM.IEEE) Rina Diane Caballar explains Twist, a new programming language for quantum computing developed by a team of researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). Inside Quntum Technology news summarizes here.
Twist is designed to make it easier for developers to identify which pieces of data are entangled, thereby allowing them to create quantum programs that have fewer errors and are easier to debug.
“What Twist does is it provides features that allow a developer to say which pieces of data are entangled and which ones aren’t,” says Charles Yuan, a Ph.D. student in computer science at MIT CSAIL and lead author on the paper about Twist, published in the journal Proceedings of the ACM on Programming Languages. Yuan says. “By including information about entanglement inside a program, you can check that a quantum algorithm is implemented correctly.”
To evaluate the language, the team wrote programs in Twist for a set of well-known quantum algorithms and executed them on a quantum simulator. “We performed experiments that showed the overhead of running these runtime checks is no more than 3.5 percent over running the base program, which we believe is fairly low and a good trade-off for the safety guarantees the language gives you,” Yuan says.
one of the challenges the team faced in building Twist is the lack of a standard for what quantum programs should look like. “Over the years, people have developed core algorithms to solve individually complex tasks like factoring integers, but it’s less clear how we can build an entire ecosystem of software for it,” Yuan says. “With Twist, we were able to build the language around our best consensus of the tasks we want to perform on quantum computers and make it as expressive as possible for those tasks.”