By Nickolas, 2 weeks ago, In English,

Microsoft's Quantum Team and Codeforces are excited to invite you to Microsoft Q# Coding Contest — Summer 2018!

The contest will run from July 6 — 9 and will consist of increasingly challenging tasks on introductory topics in quantum computing: superposition, measurement, oracles and simple algorithms. The top 50 ranked participants will receive a Microsoft Quantum T-shirt!

As a reminder, last weekend we help a warmup round with easier tasks which covered the same topics. The results were quite impressive: 167 participants solved all tasks! You can see the tasks here, and the solutions with explanations here.

Several useful reminders:

  • The contest is unrated.
  • Solutions are accepted in Q# only.
  • Participants are ranked according to the number of correctly solved tasks, with penalty time as a tiebreaker.
  • The tasks are grouped by topic, and the tasks within one topic are ordered in approximate order of increasing difficulty. If you find a problem too hard, don't forget to check the next problems in this topic and problems from different topics, they might turn out to be easier.
  • Unlike the warmup round, you're not allowed to discuss the tasks during the contest.
  • By popular demand, we have added Custom Invocation to allow you to run Q# code on Codeforces servers. Here is the signature of the code you should use to run it (note that the namespace and operation name have to match this code exactly):
namespace Solution {
    open Microsoft.Quantum.Primitive;
    open Microsoft.Quantum.Canon;

    // ------------- Operation which is called from C# -------------------
    operation RunQsharp () : Bool
    {
        body
        {
            Message("Hi");
            return true;
        }
    }
}
  • For tasks which require you to create a certain quantum state or to implement a unitary transformation, any kind of error gives verdict "Wrong Answer". For tasks which have classical return, I tried to differentiate verdicts "Wrong Answer" (your return value was incorrect) and "Runtime Error" (array index out of bounds, qubits released are not in zero state, oracle called too many times etc.).
  • NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Must be 16 years of age or older. Game ends 7/9/18. For details, see Official Rules.

You can find the discussion of the warmup round and pointers to Q#/quantum computing materials here.

For first time Codeforces users:

  1. Create user account here.
  2. Register for the contest here.
  3. Once the contest starts on July 6, access the problems here.

Good luck! We hope you enjoy the contest!

Update. The contest is over. Editorials are published.

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By Nickolas, 3 weeks ago, In English,

(text courtesy of my colleague Chris Granade)

A quantum oracle O is a "black box" operation that is used as input to another algorithm. Often, such operations are defined using a classical function f: {0, 1}n → {0, 1}m which takes n-bit binary input and produces an m-bit binary output. To do so, consider a particular binary input x = (x0, x1, ..., xn - 1). We can label qubit states as .

We may first attempt to define O so that , but this has a couple problems. First, f may have a different size of input and output (n ≠ m), such that applying O would change the number of qubits in the register. Second, even if n = m, the function may not be invertible: if f(x) = f(y) for some x ≠ y, then but . This means we won't be able to construct the adjoint operation , and oracles have to have an adjoint defined for them.

We can deal with both of these problems by introducing a second register of m qubits to hold our answer. Then we will define the effect of the oracle on all computational basis states: for all and , \begin{align*} O(|x \rangle \otimes |y \rangle) = |x \rangle \otimes |y \oplus f(x) \rangle. \end{align*} Now by construction, thus we have resolved both of the earlier problems.

Importantly, defining an oracle this way for each computational basis state also defines how O acts for any other state. This follows immediately from the fact that O, like all quantum operations, is linear in the state that it acts on. Consider the Hadamard operation, for instance, which is defined by and . If we wish to know how H acts on , we can use that H is linear:

\begin{align*} H |+ \rangle = \frac{1}{\sqrt{2}} H(|0 \rangle + |1 \rangle) = \frac{1}{\sqrt{2}} (H |0 \rangle + H |1 \rangle) = \frac{1}{\sqrt{2}} (|+ \rangle + |- \rangle) = |0 \rangle \end{align*}

In the case of defining our oracle O, we can similarly use that any state on n + m qubits can be written as

Thus, the effect of the oracle O on this state is

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By Nickolas, 4 weeks ago, In English,

Microsoft's Quantum Team has good news for quantum enthusiasts and coders looking for new challenges. We are excited to announce Microsoft Q# Coding Contest — Summer 2018! By entering the contest, you can hone your quantum coding skills by tackling problems of varying difficulty and implementing solutions in the quantum programming language Q#. Winners will receive a Microsoft Quantum T-shirt!

Quantum computing is a radically different computing paradigm compared to classical computing. Indeed, it is so different that some tasks that are believed to be classically intractable (such as factoring integers, computing discrete logarithms on elliptic curves, or simulating physical systems) can be performed efficiently on a quantum computer. Microsoft recently introduced the Quantum Development Kit which includes Q# — a new programming language to express quantum programs in a way that makes it easier for classical coders to enter the space. Q# integrates into Visual Studio or Visual Studio Code development environments, and is available as a command line tool. Visual Studio Code allows development under Windows, macOS, and Linux.

The contest will run from July 6 — 9 and will consist of increasingly challenging tasks on introductory topics in quantum computing: superposition, measurement, oracles and simple algorithms.

The rules of the contest are:

  • The contest will have 12 15 tasks of various complexity levels.
  • To solve each task, you will write Q# code to implement the described transformation on the given set of qubits or to analyze the state of a set of qubits. Solutions are accepted in Q# only.
  • The solution is correct if it passes all tests from a predefined test set. You will know whether the solution is correct soon after submitting it.
  • Participants are ranked according to the number of correctly solved tasks.
  • Ties are resolved based on lowest total penalty time for all tasks, which is computed as follows. For each solved task, a penalty is set to the submission time of that task (the time since the start of the contest). An extra penalty of 20 minutes is added for each failed submission on solved tasks (i.e., if you never solve the task, you will not be penalized for trying that task).
  • The top 50 ranked participants will receive a Microsoft Quantum T-shirt.
  • NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Must be 16 years of age or older. Game ends 7/9/18. For details, see Official Rules.

From June 29 to July 2, we will offer a warmup round with simpler tasks on the topics covered in the main contest. Participation in the warmup round is entirely optional. The warmup round gives you an opportunity to get familiar with the contest environment and submission system beforehand, as well as refresh or learn the basics of quantum computing and Q# programming language. During the warmup round everybody is encouraged to discuss the tasks and the solutions. 24 hours after the start of the warmup round we will publish explanations and solutions to the easiest three problems. Once the warmup round is over, we will publish the editorials on the contest page explaining both the quantum computing logic behind the solution and the Q# implementation.

To start, please refer to Q# installation instructions and language reference.

Quantum computing and Q# materials:

For first time Codeforces users:

  1. Create user account here.
  2. Register for the warmup round here.
  3. Register for the contest here.
  4. Once the warmup round starts on June 29, access the problems and see additional contest materials here.
  5. Once the contest starts on July 6, access the problems here.

Good luck! We hope you enjoy the contest!

Update. Explanations for problems A, D and G of the warmup round are published.

Update. The warmup round is over. Explanations for all problems are published.

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