Quantum Aptitude Battery

Brian N. Siegelwax
3 min readMay 21, 2024

How hard is it to change your SDK?

Michael Baczyk made a comment the other day about the challenge of trying — like I do — to run jobs on so many different quantum computers considering all the different SDKs that must be used in order to do so. The analogy I responded with is the Defense Language Aptitude Battery, or DLAB.

If I speak English, category I languages like Spanish are the easiest to learn, while category IV languages like Korean are the hardest to learn. Category I languages have somewhat-similar alphabets, pronunciation, and grammar, whereas Category IV languages have very different alphabets, pronunciation, and grammar. If I see a Spanish “A,” I can try pronouncing it like an A and have a chance of being correct. If I hear a Spanish word, there is a chance that that word resembles one in English, and I can guess its meaning. But Korean doesn’t have an “A,” nor does anything in Hangul resemble anything in the English alphabet. And if I hear a Korean word, unless the word is borrowed from English, I’m probably not going to guess the meaning without context or a game of charades.

With that in mind, I have categorized several alternatives to the Qiskit SDK. If you’d like to transition away from Qiskit, as I recommend, many SDKs are remarkably similar. Others have slight learning curves, others have considerable…