Erron Austin wrote:Are development environments accessible today? Are there any free/low-cost ones that would allow hobby and/or educational development?
This is a great question! Also, you're in luck.
Of the many publicly available QC programming interfaces, some of the very best are free.
Even better, folks at IBM and Microsoft have helped us to translate the book's code samples onto them. (All of the code samples run in a browser, even on a phone, with one click, but for more serious SDK work it's best to use a more serious SDK.) Here are a couple you can start using right away.
Qiskit and IBM Q Experience Qiskit is an open-source software development kit (SDK) for working with OpenQASM and the IBM Q quantum processors. With it you can create quantum computing programs, compile, and execute them online in a real quantum processors. Qiskit is Python-based, and can run either locally or in the cloud. To install, all you really need to do is pip install qiskit. In addition to simulation, Qiskit provides a Python interface to the IBM Q Experience, including actual physical QPUs. The IBM QE programs can also be written directly in OpenQASM, directly in IBM's website, with no installation necessary.
Here are some links to get you started:
Q# and Microsoft QDK In their usual pro-developer fashion, Microsoft has built a multi-platform SDK (the "QDK") and released it for free. It has Python and C# integration, and the actual QPU instructions are written in Q#, which is similar to F#. Programs can be simulated locally on your machine, or run in the cloud via online notebooks with no installation necessary.
Here are some links to get you started (thanks to Mariia at Microsoft for these links, and help with the book samples):