A language and hardware independent approach to quantum–classical computing
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Heterogeneous high-performance computing (HPC) systems offer novel architectures which accelerate specific workloads through judicious use of specialized coprocessors. A promising architectural approach for future scientific computations is provided by heterogeneous HPC systems integrating quantum processing units (QPUs). To this end, we present XACC (eXtreme-scale ACCelerator) — a programming model and software framework that enables quantum acceleration within standard or HPC software workflows. XACC follows a coprocessor machine model that is independent of the underlying quantum computing hardware, thereby enabling quantum programs to be defined and executed on a variety of QPUs types through a unified application programming interface. Moreover, XACC defines a polymorphic low-level intermediate representation, and an extensible compiler front end that enables language independent quantum programming, thus promoting integration and interoperability across the quantum programming landscape. In this work we define the software architecture enabling our hardware and language independent approach, and demonstrate its usefulness across a range of quantum computing models through illustrative examples involving the compilation and execution of gate and annealing-based quantum programs.