Microsoft, Alphabet help you learn quantum computer programming

Its Brilliant course shows how to write quantum code.

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ALFRED PASIEKA/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY via Getty Images
ALFRED PASIEKA/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY via Getty Images

The very concept of a quantum computer can be daunting, let alone programming it, but Microsoft thinks it can offer a helping hand. It and Alphabet's X are partnering with Brilliant on an online curriculum for quantum computing. The course starts with basic concepts and gradually introduces you to Microsoft's Q# language, teaching you how to write 'simple' quantum algorithms before moving on to truly complicated scenarios. You can handle everything on the web (including quantum circuit puzzles), and there's a simulator to verify that you're on the right track.

The course isn't overly lengthy -- it should take between 16 to 24 hours. You don't have to commit to the whole thing if you're skittish, either. Brilliant is offering the first two chapters for free "for a limited time." If you're intrigued by the concept or want to be sure you're ready for the wave of quantum computing jobs that might be on the horizon, it might not hurt to give the course a try.

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