Twist is an MIT-developed language that attempts to address bugs in Quantum Computing

Scientists from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence (CSAIL) have developed a new programming language for quantum computing. Called “Twist”, the language is specifically aimed at addressing data entanglement issues. If adopted by the developer community, Twist could help reduce bugs, errors, and improve the quality of data.

Quantum Computing is considerably more complex than traditional computing. However, just like any computer in existence today, even quantum computers need a programing language for developers to take advantage of their capabilities. The right language could help propel the technology from being an experimental science to mainstream usage.

Quantum computers don’t work well with traditional programming languages. These machines use qubits to encode information as zeros or ones, or both at the same time. Quantum computing deals primarily with “entanglement”, a computational multiplier for qubits of sorts, which translates to a lot of power. Technical jargon aside, this means these computers have a lot more complex way of crunching data in a very short amount of time.

While working with qubits, quantum computers have to deal with data entanglement. MIT claims that the Twist language can describe and verify which pieces of data are entangled in a quantum program. Fortunately, Twist uses syntax that a classical programmer can understand with ease.

Charles Yuan, an MIT PhD student in electrical engineering and computer science and the lead author on a new paper about Twist, says:

“Our language Twist allows a developer to write safer quantum programs by explicitly stating when a qubit must not be entangled with another. Because understanding quantum programs requires understanding entanglement, we hope that Twist paves the way to languages that make the unique challenges of quantum computing more accessible to programmers.”

Twist could help bring down the complexity associated with quantum computing. It could help developers, who are proficient with mainstream programming languages, work with quantum computers without getting into the complexities of the technology.

By incorporating Twist, the runtime of programs that ran on a quantum computer increased by only four percent, claimed MIT researchers. However, the ability of the language to detect bugs and “purify” the data is far more valuable. A new language is one of the many steps researchers are actively taking to bridge the gap between conventional computing and quantum computing while keeping matters simple and understandable for the average developer.

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