Someday, quantum computers may allow incredibly fast data processing and calculations—but before we can get there, programmers have to figure out how to interact with these systems. With that goal in mind, Google has released the Quantum Computing Playground (QCP), a development sandbox that allows programmers to play around with the concepts involved in writing software for these futuristic systems.
Unlike digital systems which process bits of information, quantum computers process qubits. "The most basic operations performed on qubits are defined by quantum gates, similar to logical gates used in classic computers," explains the QCP site. "Using quantum gates one can build complex algorithms, usually ending in a measurement operation, which obtains a classical value of qubits (either 0 or 1, but not a superposition)."
The QCP doesn't run on an actual quantum computer, but it does simulate some of the challenges involved. The Google project has its own scripting language, and it includes debugging capabilities.