MIT develops new programming language for quantum computing

Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT’s) Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence (CSAIL) have developed a new programming language for quantum computers. Called Twist, the language can describe and verify which pieces of data are entangled in a quantum program, to prevent bugs in the program. As MIT explains, ‘when two qubits are entangled, actions on one qubit can change the value of the other, even when they are physically separated. […] When programming, discarding one qubit without being mindful of its entanglement with another qubit can destroy the data stored in the other, jeopardizing the correctness of the program’. Twist can tell programmers that the temporary data generated as garbage by a program is not entangled with the program’s answer, making it safe to discard. The language can also tell developers when a qubit must not be entangled with another. It can therefore contribute to ‘making quantum programming easier by guaranteeing that the quantum bits in a pure piece of code cannot be altered by bits not in that code’.