The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), Government of India, launched the country’s first ‘Quantum Computer Simulator (QSim) Toolkit’ on August 27, 2021. It is the country’s first collaborative initiative in this field, brought together by IISc Bangalore, IIT Roorkee and C-DAC to address the common challenge of advancing the Quantum Computing research frontiers in India. It will enable researchers and students to research Quantum Computing in a cost-effective manner. The indigenously developed QSim is intended to be a vital tool in learning and understanding the practical aspects of programming using Quantum Computers and thus herald a new era of Quantum Computing research in India.
The project was conceptualised through a multi-institutional approach by IISc Bengaluru, IIT Roorkee and C-DAC as participating agencies. It was supported & funded by MeitY. QSim allows researchers and students to write and debug Quantum Code that is essential for developing Quantum Algorithms. QSim equips researchers to explore Quantum Algorithms under idealised conditions and assists them in making necessary arrangements for experiments to run on actual Quantum Hardware. QSim can serve as an essential educational/research tool providing an excellent way to attract students/researchers to the field of Quantum Technology. The toolkit creates a platform that helps students and users acquire the skills of ‘programming’ and ‘designing’ real Quantum Hardware.
As part of the “Design and Development of Quantum Computing Toolkit (Simulator, Workbench) and Capacity Building” project, the team from IIT Roorkee helped the teams from the Indian Institute of Science, CDAC-Bangalore, CDAC-Hyderabad, in providing the required expertise in quantum computing and developing programs to be tested and implemented on the toolkit. One of the unique features of QSim is its Intuitive User Interface, which offers a robust Quantum Computer Simulator integrated with a Graphical User Interface based Workbench to create Quantum programs and visualize the instant circuit generation simulated outputs.
Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Minister of State Electronics and IT, said that this is an important milestone for the Ministry and the entire country towards creating capabilities in strategic areas such as Quantum Computing: “It is interesting that we are doing this when we just started celebrating our 75th year of Independence. This occasion is good to look back on how far we have come as a nation. In many ways QSIM and focus on Quantum Computing is about looking ahead to India in another 25 years. I congratulate the team again and all the best to all those involved in this endeavor.”
Speaking about the IIT Roorkee’s contribution, Dr Sugata Gangopadhyay, Professor and Head, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, IIT Roorkee, said, “Our team worked closely with the teams from CDAC on the development of the toolkit. The expertise provided by IIT Roorkee played a significant role in bringing the toolkit to its current state. We are currently working on the development of programs to be implemented on the simulator. We are proud to be part of this collaboration as it has created an ecosystem to nurture the quantum community in the country, which will lead to various future technological inventions.”
Quantum Computing is a rapidly emerging computational paradigm which can perform a variety of tasks with greater speed and efficiency than present day digital computers by harnessing the power of Quantum Mechanics. In areas such as cryptography, computational chemistry and machine learning, Quantum computing promises exponential growth in computing power.
In line with promoting research and studies in Quantum Computing, IIT Roorkee recently offered two introductory courses on quantum computation. The first course was launched through the E&ICT academy in October ’20 and was attended by over 400 participants from various backgrounds, with 165 participants obtaining certificates from the academy. The second course was offered to scientists and officers at various government agencies and laboratories in March ’21 and was attended by close to 100 participants.