Contributing to Qiskit

Qiskit is an open-source project committed to bringing quantum computing to people of all backgrounds. This page describes how you can join the Qiskit community in this goal.

Before You Start

If you are new to Qiskit contributing we recommend you do the following before diving into the code:

  1. Read the Code of Conduct

  2. Decide what to work on

  3. Read the repo-specific Contributing Guidelines for the repo you have decided to contribute to.

  4. Set up your development environment

  5. Familiarize yourself with the Qiskit community (via Slack, Stack Exchange, GitHub etc.)

Decide What to Work on

If you’re not sure what type of contribution is right for you, take a look at the following flowchart to help you:

Report/fix typos, broken links etc. in the relevant package or textbook repo Documentation: Answer questions in , , or Help others in the community! Slack StackExchange Twitter other channels Check out the Translations: repo qiskit-community/qiskit-translations Looking to contribute to Qiskit? I’m not sure how yet but I want to get involved! Is there already a GitHub issue open for this bug? Would you like to code? Which programming language are you most comfortable with? Rust , Take a look at: retworkx qiskit-terra Take a look at: qiskit-aer , Take a look at: platypus qiskit.org , , , , , , , Take a look at: qiskit-terra qiskit-nature qiskit-finance qiskit-optimization qiskit-machine-learning qiskit-experiments qiskit-dynamics qiskit-metal C++ Javascript/web dev. Python Consider the following options: I’d like to report a bug I have an idea for a feature I have some code for this feature It’s just an idea Do you know which Qiskit package you would like your feature added to? Yes No Yes No work is in scope work is not in scope Discuss your idea with maintainers Work with maintainers to integrate your feature into Qiskit Consider creating a standalone module and join the Qiskit Ecosystem Open a feature request GitHub issue Open a GitHub discussion in the repo qiskit-community/feedback Yes No Open an issue with a minimum reproducible code example Leave a comment or +1 in the issue (with a code example even better!) If you would like to work on this issue, leave a comment in the issue requesting to be assigned Get coding and open a PR! Choose the repo you want to work on, look at the open issues in the issues tab, look for issues with "good first issue" or "help wanted" labels

Contributing to a Specific Repo

Each Qiskit package has its own set of Contributing Guidelines (kept in the CONTRIBUTING.md file) which details specific information on contributing to that repository. Make sure you read through the repo-specific Contributing Guidelines prior to making your contribution to a specific repo as each project may have slightly different requirements and processes. For Qiskit Terra, the main repository, the contributing guidelines may be be found here. Other Qiskit packages that are able to receive contributions may be found as seperate repositories in the official Qiskit Github.

Set up Your Development Environment

To get started contributing to the Python-based Qiskit repos you will need to set up a Python Virtual Development Environment and install the appropriate package from source.

For a quick guide on how to do this for qiskit-terra take a look at the How to Install Qiskit - Contributors YouTube video.

For non-python packages you should check the CONTRIBUTING.md file for specific details on setting up your dev environment.

Set up Python Virtual Development Environment

Virtual environments are used for Qiskit development to isolate the development environment from system-wide packages. This way, we avoid inadvertently becoming dependent on a particular system configuration. For developers, this also makes it easy to maintain multiple environments (e.g. one per supported Python version, for older versions of Qiskit, etc.).

All Python versions supported by Qiskit include built-in virtual environment module venv.

Start by creating a new virtual environment with venv. The resulting environment will use the same version of Python that created it and will not inherit installed system-wide packages by default. The specified folder will be created and is used to hold the environment’s installation. It can be placed anywhere. For more detail, see the official Python documentation, Creation of virtual environments.

python3 -m venv ~/.venvs/qiskit-dev

Activate the environment by invoking the appropriate activation script for your system, which can be found within the environment folder. For example, for bash/zsh:

source ~/.venvs/qiskit-dev/bin/activate

Upgrade pip within the environment to ensure Qiskit dependencies installed in the subsequent sections can be located for your system.

pip install -U pip

For Conda users, a new environment can be created as follows.

conda create -y -n QiskitDevenv python=3
conda activate QiskitDevenv
pip install -e .

Pull Requests

We use GitHub pull requests to accept contributions.

While not required, opening a new issue about the bug you’re fixing or the feature you’re working on before you open a pull request is an important step in starting a discussion with the community about your work. The issue gives us a place to talk about the idea and how we can work together to implement it in the code. It also lets the community know what you’re working on, and if you need help, you can reference the issue when discussing it with other community and team members.

If you’ve written some code but need help finishing it, want to get initial feedback on it prior to finishing it, or want to share it and discuss prior to finishing the implementation, you can open a Draft pull request and prepend the title with the [WIP] tag (for Work In Progress). This will indicate to reviewers that the code in the PR isn’t in its final state and will change. It also means that we will not merge the commit until it is finished. You or a reviewer can remove the [WIP] tag when the code is ready to be fully reviewed for merging.

Before marking your Pull Request as “ready for review” make sure you have followed the PR Checklist below. PRs that adhere to this list are more likely to get reviewed and merged in a timely manner.

Pull Request Checklist:

  • You have followed the requirements in the CONTRIBUTING.md file for the specific repo you are contributing to.

  • All CI checks pass (it’s recommended to run tests and lint checks locally before pushing).

  • New tests have been added for any new functionality that has been introduced.

  • The documentation has been updated accordingly for any new/modified functionality.

  • A release note has been added if the change has a user-facing impact.

  • Any superfluous comments or print statements have been removed.

  • All contributors have signed the Contributor License Agreement.

  • The PR has a concise and explanatory title (e.g. Fixes Issue1234 is a bad title!).

  • If the PR addresses an open issue the PR description includes the fixes #issue-number syntax to link the PR to that issue (you must use the exact phrasing in order for GitHub to automatically close the issue when the PR merges)

Code Review

Code review is done in the open and is open to anyone. While only maintainers have access to merge commits, community feedback on pull requests is extremely valuable. It is also a good mechanism to learn about the code base.

Response times may vary for your PR, it is not unusual to wait a few weeks for a maintainer to review your work, due to other internal commitments. If you have been waiting over a week for a review on your PR feel free to tag the relevant maintainer in a comment to politely remind them to review your work.

Please be patient! Maintainers have a number of other priorities to focus on and so it may take some time for your work to get reviewed and merged. PRs that are in a good shape (i.e. following the Pull Request Checklist:) are easier for maintainers to review and more likely to get merged in a timely manner. Please also make sure to always be kind and respectful in your interactions with maintainers and other contributors, you can read the Qiskit Code of Conduct.

Contributor License Agreement

Before you can submit any code, all contributors must sign a contributor license agreement (CLA). By signing a CLA, you’re attesting that you are the author of the contribution, and that you’re freely contributing it under the terms of the Apache-2.0 license.

When you contribute to the Qiskit project with a new pull request, a bot will evaluate whether you have signed the CLA. If required, the bot will comment on the pull request, including a link to accept the agreement. The individual CLA document is available for review as a PDF.


If your contribution is part of your employment or your contribution is the property of your employer, then you will more than likely need to sign a corporate CLA too and email it to us at <qiskit@us.ibm.com>.