QuTiP: the quantum toolbox in Python as an ecosystem for quantum physics exploration and quantum information science
2019-09-04, 12:00–12:30, Track 2 (Baroja)

In this talk you will learn how QuTiP, the quantum toolbox in Python (http://qutip.org), has emerged from a library to an ecosystem. QuTiP is used for education, to teach quantum physics. In research and industry, for quantum computing simulation.

QuTiP is emerging as a library at the center of a lively ecosystem. In this talk you will learn about the ongoing projects that have invested this project, from providing the framework to simulate quantum machine learning for quantum computers to the development of efficient numerical solvers tackling dynamical problems that are inherently hard to simulate classically.

It can be noted that Astropy is a community effort to develop a common core package for Astronomy in Python and "foster an ecosystem of interoperable astronomy packages",

It seems an interesting model for the quantum tech landscape. Qiskit did build its own ecosystem of sub-libraries for quantum computing. The physics library for quantum tech is http://qutip.org .

About the idea of QuTiP as a super-library, here are some details:

This talk will be of interest to the curious coder and researcher, analyzing how QuTiP's impact in the research community has fostered a lingua franca for quantum tech research. We will also draw comparisons with other larger ecosystems in Python-based scientific projects, such as astropy and scikit-learn.

More about QuTiP

  • QuTiP is the open-source software to study quantum physics. It develops both an intuitive playground to understand quantum mechanics and cutting-edge tools to investigate it.
  • QuTiP provides the most comprehensive toolbox to characterize noise and dissipation –realistic processes– affecting quantum systems, as well as tools not only to monitor but also to minimize their impact (quantum optimal control, description of decoherence-free spaces).
  • For this reason QuTiP is a software born out of the quantum optics community and that has become increasingly relevant for the quantum computing community, as current quantum computing devices are noisy (NISQ definition by Preskill).
  • pypinfo data shows that QuTiP is popular in countries that are strong in quantum tech and quantum computing research, eg, The Netherlands in the top five, as well as countries that benefit in the use of open source software (OSS) for university coursework, eg, India.
  • In the past three years, there has been an evolution in the quantum tech community, which has embraced OSS.
  • OSS libraries are used as a means to grow the user base, as well as in a more structural way for quantum computers, as they provide cloud access to quantum devices, e.g., IBM Q.
  • QuTiP is the only major library that has continued to thrive in this ecosystem, competing with other library packages that are funded by corporations or VC-backed startups/
  • Since the tools of QuTiP provide a common ground to study quantum mechanics, it is important that this independent project is provided with the necessary support to thrive
  • As access to quantum computers becomes more and more widespread also for the use of data scientist and QuTiP's popularity grows even more for undergraduate and graduate courses, becoming the de-facto standard OSS to study quantum optical systems, it is imperative that the QuTiP library makes a quality jump to provide a comprehensive introduction to its tools for a much broader community of users.

  • QuTiP website: http://www.qutip.org/

  • GitHub repository: https://github.com/qutip
  • GitHub repository (QuTiP code): https://github.com/qutip/qutip
  • GitHub repository (QuTiP documentation): https://github.com/qutip/qutip-doc
  • GitHub repository (QuTiP tutorials): https://github.com/qutip/qutip-notebooks
  • Latest version of the documetnation:
  • Historical archive of released documentation: http://qutip.org/documentation.html

QuTiP core development team

QuTiP core development team: (Alex Pitchford, alex.pitchford@gmail.com). Additional mentors will be the project's core contributors Nathan Shammah (nathan.shammah@gmail.com), Shahnawaz Ahmed (shahnawaz.ahmed95@gmail.com) and Eric Giguere (eric.giguere@usherbrooke.ca).

QuTiP is a project started by Robert J. Johansson and Paul Nation. Other core developers have been Arne Grimso, Chris Granade and over other 44 contributors.


[1] J. R. Johansson, P. D. Nation, and F. Nori: “QuTiP: An open-source Python framework for the dynamics of open quantum systems.”, Comp. Phys. Comm. 183, 1760–1772 (2012)

[2] J. Robert Johansson, Paul D. Nation, and Franco Nori: “QuTiP 2: A Python framework for the dynamics of open quantum systems.”, Comp. Phys. Comm. 184, 1234 (2013)

[3] J. Preskill, "Quantum Computing in the NISQ era and beyond." Quantum 2, 79 (2018)

[4] Mark Fingerhuth, Tomáš Babej, and Peter Wittek, Open source software in quantum computing, PLoS ONE 13 (12): e0208561 (2018).

[5] N. Shammah, S. Ahmed, N. Lambert, S. De Liberato, and F. Nori, "Open quantum systems with local and collective incoherent processes: Efficient numerical simulation using permutational invariance " Phys. Rev. A 98, 063815 (2018). Code at http://piqs.readthedocs.io

[6] N. Lambert, S. Ahmed, M. Cirio, and F. Nori, "Virtual excitations in the ultra-strongly-coupled spin-boson model: physical results from unphysical modes", arXiv preprint arXiv:1903.05892. Also http://matsubara.readthedocs.io

Other relevant material:

  • Slides on QuTiP and the quantum-tech open source ecosystem (Nathan Shammah @ Berkeley Lab, 2019). PDF

  • "The rise of open source in quantum physics research", Nathan Shammah and Shahnawaz Ahmed, Nature's physics blog, January 9, 2019.

  • "Bit to QuBit: Data in the age of quantum computers", Shahnawaz Ahmed, PyData 2018, Warsaw, Poland, 2019. YouTube video.

Abstract as a tweet

qutip empowers the quantum physics and quantum information community in Python

Project Homepage / Git


Python Skill Level


Domain Expertise



Data Visualisation, Jupyter, Open Source, Simulation

Project Homepage / Git