PlanQK vs. development environments for quantum software

There are a number of development environments (or SDKs – Software Development Kits [1]) for quantum software (see [2], [3]): IBM offers QisKit, Rigetti provides Forest, DWave provides Ocean, etc. The development environments of these manufacturers of quantum computers generally only support their own hardware. In order to avoid being committed to a single hardware, such manufacturers, who do not have their own quantum hardware in their portfolio, offer development environments that can be used to develop programs that can run on several quantum computers: Microsoft provides the Quantum Development Kit QDK, Zapata offers Orchestra, etc. There are also open source SDKs such as ProjectQ. Relatively late (since August 2020) Amazon has now also offered a quantum SDK called Braket, which supports hardware from Rigetti, DWave and IonQ.

PlanQK follows a completely different path. First of all, PlanQK is not a development environment for quantum software. On the contrary, it is absolutely SDK neutral: The quantum software provided in PlanQK can be created with any such quantum SDK: In the adjacent figure these SDKs are shown in the red dotted area in the bottom center.  This neutrality is achieved by PlanQK’s emphasis on the concept of patterns, i.e. proven solutions to recurring problems in the domain of quantum computing. By definition, the solutions provided in such patterns are implementation and vendor neutral. A pattern then refers to possibly different implementations created by „any“ quantum SDK.


Also, realizations of applications in the field of quantum computing generally require the solution of several problems. In PlanQK, however, the patterns are networked into a pattern language and complex problems are solved by passing through these networked patterns and obtaining individual solutions to the sub-problems. Furthermore, today’s solutions of quantum computing problems are hybrid software, consisting of several „modules“ of classical software as well as possibly several „modules“ of quantum circuits. In PlanQK all these modules can run in different environments of several manufacturers and are even deployed by PlanQK.

Furthermore, PlanQK focuses on relevant use cases of the industrial partners: this way, knowledge is built up for which (sub)problems quantum computers can realistically be used today or in a few years, and especially how this use is done [4]. The single steps of this utilization are directly supported by PlanQK. At the same time there are components in PlanQK that evaluate quantum algorithms by assessing which quantum computers are likely to be successful.



[2]  Frank Leymann, Johanna Barzen, Michael Falkenthal, Daniel Vietz, Benjamin Weder, et al. 2020. Quantum in the Cloud: Application Potentials and Research Opportunities. In Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Cloud Computing and Service Science (CLOSER 2020). SciTePress, 9–24.

[3]  LaRose, M., 2019. Overview and Comparison of Gate Level Quantum Software Platforms. arXiv:1807.02500v2.

[4]  Frank Leymann, Johanna Barzen (2020): The bitter truth about gate-based quantum algorithms in the NISQ era. In: Quantum Sci. Technol. 2020.