MIT’s Twist Quantum programming language

Thank you for tuning in to this audio only podcast presentation. This is week 97 of The Lindahl Letter publication. A new edition arrives every Friday. This week the topic under consideration for The Lindahl Letter is, “MIT’s Twist Quantum programming language.”

Recently, I started spending a bit more time writing about quantum machine learning and quantum computing in general. One of the things I became curious about was related to a thread of thoughts about how they code something for a quantum computer. One of the first things that I came across while trying to learn more about how people were coding with Twist was an article in IEEE Spectrum called, “Meet Twist: MIT’s Quantum Programming Language: Keeping tabs on data entanglement keeps reins on buggy quantum code” [1]. This article referenced out to CSAIL or the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory which happens to be located at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology. You can find their delightful website right here: and it does pretty easily direct you toward Twist with a few searches [2]. 

Within that website you will find that the researchers Charles Yuan, Christopher McNally, and Michael Carbin shared a paper at POPL 2022 [3]. 

Proceedings of the ACM on Programming LanguagesVolume 6Issue POPL January 2022 Article No.: 30pp 1–32

Or you could go out to the paper on arXiv and download the PDF. 

Yuan, C., McNally, C., & Carbin, M. (2022). Twist: sound reasoning for purity and entanglement in Quantum programs. Proceedings of the ACM on Programming Languages6(POPL), 1-32.

You might be curious how many papers cite that paper and the answer at this very moment from Google Scholar happens to be 6 [4]. None of this content seems to be highly citated at this point in terms of a network of academic coverage.

However, if you were wondering about an MIT course you could take related to this, then you are in luck. For only $2,249.00 you could take the 4-week course that starts on January 23, 2023:

At this point in the process, I started looking around for coding examples or notebooks with something to try to absorb. You are going to end up with the paper reading pages 46-53 of that paper linked above from arXiv. 

I took a look at this artifact up on GitHub here:

Over the next year I’ll be looking for more practical coding examples or maybe a tutorial that really explains how to use the Twist quantum programing language. I could not find an emulator or a code dojo to test out things either. That is problematic given that I’m probably not going to pay for time on a quantum computer to learn how to write Twist code or more to the point you are paying to engage in the activity of coding.

Links and thoughts:

“E105: Trump enters 2024 race, fiscal responsibility, big tech austerity measures, more FTX chaos”

“A Hard Fork in the Road: FTX’s Unraveling and Elon’s Loyalty Oath”

“#81 JULIAN TOGELIUS, Prof. KEN STANLEY – AGI, Games, Diversity & Creativity [UNPLUGGED]”

“Galactica: A Large Language Model for Science (Drama & Paper Review)”

“A Sports Card Documentary IN THEATERS?! 👀 (Behind The Card)”

Top 5 Tweets of the week:



What’s next for The Lindahl Letter?

  • Week 98: Deep generative models
  • Week 99: Overcrowding and ML
  • Week 100: Back to the ROI for ML
  • Week 101: Revisiting my MLOps paper
  • Week 102: ML pracademics
  • Week 103: Rethinking the future of ML
  • Week 104: That 2nd year of posting recap

I’ll try to keep the what’s next list forward looking with at least five weeks of posts in planning or review. If you enjoyed this content, then please take a moment and share it with a friend. If you are new to The Lindahl Letter, then please consider subscribing. New editions arrive every Friday. Thank you and enjoy the week ahead.

Leave a Reply