Celebrating our open source community with Hacktoberfest

Mariia Mykhailova


It is October, and this means it’s time for Hacktoberfest – an annual celebration of open source! It was launched as a partnership between DigitalOcean and GitHub in 2014, and each year it attracts a growing global community of contributors, with last year’s event drawing more than 80K participants and nearly 500K pull requests.

Our open source community

The Quantum Development Kit (QDK) includes a lot of components: from the samples and libraries that were released as open source back in 2017, to the compiler and runtime open sourced in 2019, to the newest addition to the roster – Q# language repository that hosts language design discussions. (Here is an excellent overview of the components and open source repositories that are part of the QDK.)

As the footprint of our open source code grew, so did the community around it. The most active of our open source repositories – the collection of tutorials and programming exercises on quantum computing called the Quantum Katas – has over a hundred contributors, only around 20% of them from Microsoft Quantum team!

Some of our contributors have been with us for over a year; it doesn’t seem like a long time, until you remember that the QDK itself is less than three years old! Today I am delighted to recognize one of our most dedicated contributors, Vincent van Wingerden, and to promote him to the role of maintainer of the Quantum Katas. In his day job Vincent is a technical architect at Microsoft for Data & AI, helping people create the best possible data solutions on Azure. He started contributing to the Quantum Katas in November 2019, and since then he did a lot of work on the workbooks – the detailed explanations of the solutions to the programming tasks offered in the tutorials. In fact, Vincent is the second most active contributor to the Katas – and now he has a chance to experience the other side of the open source, helping others to do their first contributions.

Quantum Hacktoberfest

Over the past year we hosted several internal Hackathons, including a Hacktoberfest celebration at the Microsoft Garage.

Quantum Hacktoberfest 2019

This October, in-person meetups are not really an option, so we decided to take the experience online – and open it to everybody worldwide!

One of the most important things in getting started is finding just the right thing to work on. People new to GitHub need something very simple, so that they can focus on mastering the contribution process itself – it is not complicated but can be baffling when going though it for the first time. Experienced GitHub users might pick a slightly more complicated issue to learn more about quantum computing or compilers. And regular contributors can challenge themselves to do an advanced project, though they are not shy about doing it any time of year!

With this in mind, we selected a variety of issues spanning nearly all areas in the QDK and a broad range of complexity, from small writing tasks to fixing bugs and developing small features.

You can also check out our contribution guide and browse all our repositories to see if there is something not on this list that piques your curiosity.

Get involved: how to participate?

Ready to start? Here are three easy steps:

  • Register for Hacktoberfest. Once you send 4 pull requests to GitHub repositories this October, you’ll be eligible for their “tee or tree” reward – a Hacktoberfest T-shirt or a tree planted on your behalf.
  • Join our kick-off call on October 8th to meet the maintainers of our repositories and learn about the areas you can contribute to.
  • Head to our open source repositories, pick an issue with Hacktoberfest label and get started!

We’ll be there to answer your questions and guide you through the contributions.

Happy hacking!


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