Quantum Development Kit (QDK) full state simulator

The QDK provides a full state simulator that simulates a quantum machine on your local computer. You can use the full state simulator to run and debug quantum algorithms written in Q#, utilizing up to 30 qubits. The functionality of the full state simulator is similar to the quantum simulator used in the LIQ$Ui|\rangle$ platform from Microsoft Research.

Invoking and running the full state simulator

You expose the full state simulator via the QuantumSimulator class. For more information, see Ways to run a Q# program.

Invoking the simulator from C#

Create an instance of the QuantumSimulator class and then pass it to the Run method of a quantum operation, along with any additional parameters.

    using (var sim = new QuantumSimulator())
        var res = myOperation.Run(sim).Result;

Because the QuantumSimulator class implements the IDisposable interface, you must call the Dispose method once you don't need the instance of the simulator anymore. The best way to do it is to wrap the simulator declaration and operations within a using statement, which automatically calls the Dispose method.

Invoking the simulator from Python

Use the simulate() method from the Q# Python library with the imported Q# operation:

qubit_result = myOperation.simulate()

Invoking the simulator from the command line

When running a Q# program from the command line, the full state simulator is the default target machine. Optionally, you can use the --simulator (or -s shortcut) parameter to specify the desired target machine. Both of the following commands run a program using the full state simulator.

dotnet run
dotnet run -s QuantumSimulator

Invoking the simulator from Jupyter Notebooks

Use the IQ# magic command %simulate to run the Q# operation.

%simulate myOperation

Seeding the simulator

By default, the full state simulator uses a random number generator to simulate quantum randomness. For testing purposes, it's sometimes useful to have deterministic results. In a C# program, you can accomplish this by providing a seed for the random number generator in the QuantumSimulator constructor via the randomNumberGeneratorSeed parameter.

    using (var sim = new QuantumSimulator(randomNumberGeneratorSeed: 42))
        var res = myOperationTest.Run(sim).Result;

Simulator options

The behavior of the full state simulator can be adjusted via the following parameters to the C# constructor:

Parameter Description
throwOnReleasingQubitsNotInZeroState The simulator can warn you if qubits have not been returned to the zero state before release by throwing an exception. The default is true.
randomNumberGeneratorSeed Obtain deterministic behavior by seeding the simulator.
disableBorrowing If you don't want to use borrowed qubits for this simulation, you can disable this feature by setting this parameter to true. Borrowed qubits will instead be replaced with regular clean qubits. The default is false.


Resetting or measuring qubits before release is required by the Q# spec - not doing so may lead to computational errors.

The code below shows a possible configuration of the parameters.

    var sim = new QuantumSimulator (
        throwOnReleasingQubitsNotInZeroState: false,
        randomNumberGeneratorSeed: 42,
        disableBorrowing: true

Configuring threads

The full state simulator uses OpenMP to parallelize the linear algebra required. By default, OpenMP uses all available hardware threads, which means that programs with small numbers of qubits often run slowly because the coordination that is required dwarfs the actual work. You can fix this by setting the environment variable OMP_NUM_THREADS to a small number. As a rule of thumb, configure one thread for up to four qubits, and then one additional thread per qubit. You might need to adjust the variable depending on your algorithm.

See also