Getting started


Qiskit Nature depends on the main Qiskit package which has its own Qiskit Getting Started detailing the installation options for Qiskit and its supported environments/platforms. You should refer to that first. Then the information here can be followed which focuses on the additional installation specific to Qiskit Nature.

Qiskit Nature has some functions that have been made optional where the dependent code and/or support program(s) are not (or cannot be) installed by default. These include, for example, classical library/programs for molecular problems. See Optional installs for more information.

The simplest way to get started is to follow the getting started ‘Start locally’ guide for Qiskit

In your virtual environment where you installed Qiskit simply add nature to the extra list in a similar manner to how the extra visualization support is installed for Qiskit, i.e:

pip install qiskit[nature]

It is worth pointing out that if you’re a zsh user (which is the default shell on newer versions of macOS), you’ll need to put qiskit[nature] in quotes:

pip install 'qiskit[nature]'

Installing Qiskit Nature from source allows you to access the most recently updated version under development instead of using the version in the Python Package Index (PyPI) repository. This will give you the ability to inspect and extend the latest version of the Qiskit Nature code more efficiently.

Since Qiskit Nature depends on Qiskit, and its latest changes may require new or changed features of Qiskit, you should first follow Qiskit’s “Install from source” instructions here Qiskit Getting Started

Installing Qiskit Nature from Source

Using the same development environment that you installed Qiskit in you are ready to install Qiskit Nature.

  1. Clone the Qiskit Nature repository.

    git clone https://github.com/qiskit-community/qiskit-nature.git
  2. Cloning the repository creates a local folder called qiskit-nature.

    cd qiskit-nature
  3. If you want to run tests or linting checks, install the developer requirements.

    pip install -r requirements-dev.txt
  4. Install qiskit-nature.

    pip install .

If you want to install it in editable mode, meaning that code changes to the project don’t require a reinstall to be applied, you can do this with:

pip install -e .

Optional installs

Qiskit Nature supports the use of different classical libraries and programs, via drivers, which compute molecular information, such as one and two body integrals. This is needed as problem input to algorithms that compute properties of molecules, such as the ground state energy, so at least one such library/program should be installed. As you can choose which driver you use, you can install as many, or as few as you wish, that are supported by your platform etc.

See Driver installation which lists each driver and how to install the dependent library/program that it requires.

Additionally, you may find the following optional dependencies useful:

  • sparse, a library for sparse multi-dimensional arrays. When installed, Qiskit Nature can leverage this to reduce the memory requirements of your calculations.

  • opt_einsum, a tensor contraction order optimizer for np.einsum.

Ready to get going?…

Now that Qiskit Nature is installed, let’s try a chemistry application experiment using the VQE (Variational Quantum Eigensolver) algorithm to compute the ground-state (minimum) energy of a molecule.

from qiskit_nature.units import DistanceUnit
from qiskit_nature.second_q.drivers import PySCFDriver

# Use PySCF, a classical computational chemistry software
# package, to compute the one-body and two-body integrals in
# electronic-orbital basis, necessary to form the Fermionic operator
driver = PySCFDriver(
    atom='H .0 .0 .0; H .0 .0 0.735',
problem = driver.run()

# setup the qubit mapper
from qiskit_nature.second_q.mappers import ParityMapper

mapper = ParityMapper(num_particles=problem.num_particles)

# setup the classical optimizer for the VQE
from qiskit.algorithms.optimizers import L_BFGS_B

optimizer = L_BFGS_B()

# setup the estimator primitive for the VQE
from qiskit.primitives import Estimator

estimator = Estimator()

# setup the ansatz for VQE
from qiskit_nature.second_q.circuit.library import HartreeFock, UCCSD

ansatz = UCCSD(

# set up our actual VQE instance
from qiskit.algorithms.minimum_eigensolvers import VQE

vqe = VQE(estimator, ansatz, optimizer)
# ensure that the optimizer starts in the all-zero state which corresponds to
# the Hartree-Fock starting point
vqe.initial_point = [0] * ansatz.num_parameters

# prepare the ground-state solver and run it
from qiskit_nature.second_q.algorithms import GroundStateEigensolver

algorithm = GroundStateEigensolver(mapper, vqe)

electronic_structure_result = algorithm.solve(problem)
electronic_structure_result.formatting_precision = 6

 * Electronic ground state energy (Hartree): -1.857275
   - computed part:      -1.857275
 ~ Nuclear repulsion energy (Hartree): 0.719969
 > Total ground state energy (Hartree): -1.137306


   0:  # Particles: 2.000 S: 0.000 S^2: 0.000 M: 0.000


 ~ Nuclear dipole moment (a.u.): [0.0  0.0  1.388949]

   * Electronic dipole moment (a.u.): [0.0  0.0  1.388949]
     - computed part:      [0.0  0.0  1.388949]
   > Dipole moment (a.u.): [0.0  0.0  0.0]  Total: 0.0
                  (debye): [0.0  0.0  0.0]  Total: 0.0

The program above computes the ground state energy of molecular Hydrogen, H<sub>2</sub>, where the two atoms are configured to be at a distance of 0.735 angstroms. The molecular input specification is processed by the PySCF driver. This driver produces an ElectronicStructureProblem which gathers all the problem information required by Qiskit Nature. The second-quantized operators contained in that problem can be mapped to qubit operators with a QubitMapper. Here, we chose the ParityMapper which automatically removes 2 qubits due to inherit symmetries when the num_particles are provided to it; a reduction in complexity that is particularly advantageous for NISQ computers.

For actually finding the ground state solution, the Variational Quantum Eigensolver (VQE) algorithm is used. Its main three components are the estimator primitive (Estimator), wavefunction ansatz (UCCSD), and optimizer (L_BFGS_B). The UCCSD component is the only one provided directly by Qiskit Nature and it is usually paired with the HartreeFock initial state and an all-zero initial point for the optimizer.

The entire problem is then solved using a GroundStateEigensolver which wraps both, the ParityMapper and VQE. Since an ElectronicStructureProblem is provided to it (which was the output of the PySCFDriver) it also returns an ElectronicStructureResult.

Dive into the tutorials

Find out about Qiskit Nature and how to use it for natural science problems.

Qiskit Nature tutorials