Microsoft Gears Up For Quantum Computing Ecosystem

by CXOtoday News Desk    Sep 26, 2017

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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is now driving the company to work with quantum computing ecosystem, a technology which enables computations in a fraction of the time.

“A quantum computer enables you to encode information, not just as one or zero but as one and zero simultaneously. That means it unlocks amazing parallelism,” said Nadella in his keynote address at Microsoft’s Ignite conference here yesterday, according to an ET report.

Microsoft’s plan to build a quantum computing ecosystem is based on Michael Freedman’s (he joined Microsoft’s theoretical research group two decades ago, he was a renowned math genius known for his fundamental research into an obscure field of math called topology) field of math and a branch of physics, as per a company statement.

Although it evokes mystical comparisons, experts believe quantum computing will have innumerable practical benefits. That’s because it would allow scientists to do computations in minutes or hours that would take the lifetime of the universe on even the most advanced classical computers we use today. That, in turn, would mean that people could find answers to scientific questions previously thought unanswerable. Researchers say quantum computing could eventually be used to solve some of the world’s toughest problems, from world hunger to the dangerous effects of climate change, the statement added.

Today, advance computers use technologies like quantum computing. “You could take a quantum computer and solve some of these unsolvable problems because they approach it with that amazing parallelism where they’ll take every path in the corn maze simultaneously. That’s the intuition behind the power of quantum,” Nadella said.

Building quantum computer, of course, requires more than just simple computing, he said.

“We have had to assemble a world-class team. In fact, we’ve had to take a very novel approach of bringing together breakthroughs in math, fundamental physics, and computer science together, and put a system or get started on a journey to put a system that’s going to be a truly scalable general purpose quantum computer,” he added.

Appearing with Nadella, Freedman said that Microsoft’s qubit will be based on a new form of matter called topological matter that also has this property that information stored in a matter is stored globally, the information cannot be found in a particular location.

On Monday at Microsoft’s Ignite conference, the company showcased the progress it has made toward developing both a topological qubit and the ecosystem of hardware and software that will eventually allow a wide range of developers to take advantage of quantum computing’s power.

That progress includes a new programming language, which is deeply integrated with Visual Studio and designed to work on both a quantum simulator and a quantum computer, as per the statement.

“A quantum computer is able to model nature,” said Krysta Svore, who has led development of Microsoft software designed to work on quantum computers, as well as the quantum simulators that allow development to proceed even while the first machines are being built. “With classical computers, we’re not able to really understand those processes.”

In one of its earliest uses, experts believe a topological quantum computer will help artificial intelligence researchers speed up the labor-intensive process of training algorithms using machine learning.