Effective 10/13/2023, we’re pleased to share that the Microsoft Quantum Inspired Optimization (QIO) solver is now available on GitHub under the MIT license in collaboration with KPMG. We’re excited for vibrant, community based QIO innovation to continue and generate progress and applications. Access here on GitHub.

To many developers, quantum computing may still feel like a futuristic technology shrouded in mystery and surrounded by hype. It’s some mystic dance of 1s and 0s that will enable some calculations in mere hours that today would take the lifetime of the universe to compute. It’s somehow related to a cat that may or may not be dead in a box.

The question we hear most often from developers is how do you make sense of what’s real and get started?

Over the last year, we’ve been working with you, the pioneering community of quantum developers, to understand what all developers will need on the path to scalable quantum computing. You’ve told us that you want to learn more about where quantum could impact your business today, to have easier ways to start writing quantum code, and to run applications against a range of quantum and classical hardware.

So at Microsoft Build, we’re introducing new experiences for Azure Quantum that help you on your journey to becoming a quantum developer.

Take advantage of 20 years of quantum research with Azure Quantum, now in preview

Azure Quantum is a one-stop-shop that gives you the freedom to create your own path to scalable quantum computing. Through a familiar Azure environment, you’ll have access to all the tools and resources you need to quickly ramp up and have impact today, while building for the future. We’re pleased to announce Azure Quantum is now officially in preview with select customers and partners.

As a developer, you’ll be able to take advantage of nearly two decades of quantum research infused into every layer of the Azure Quantum stack. With Azure Quantum, you get:

  • An open ecosystem, enabling you to access diverse quantum software, hardware, and solutions from Microsoft and our partners 1QBit, Honeywell, IonQ, and QCI.
  • A trusted, scalable, and secure platform that will continue to adapt to our rapidly evolving quantum future.
  • An ability to have quantum impact today with pre-built solutions that run on classical computers (what we refer to as quantum-inspired solutions).

We’ve done the heavy lifting, taking the research and turning it into flexible cloud services so you can hit the ground running. Start with quantum-inspired solutions, build for quantum execution, and prepare for the scalable quantum computing of tomorrow.

Solve the challenging optimization problems facing your business with Azure Quantum

We’ve all been there before, stuck at a traffic light for far too long. It finally turns green and traffic gets moving, but then the next light turns red and there we are stuck again. If we can optimize the timing of traffic lights, we can reduce the number of idling vehicles, improving the driving experience, relieving city congestion, and ultimately reducing carbon emissions.

Members of our Microsoft Quantum Network, Jij and their customer Toyota Tsusho, have been working to solve this mobility challenge in the Azure Quantum preview. Using quantum-inspired optimization (QIO), their teams were able to reduce car waiting time by 20% when compared to conventional optimization methods.

Jij diagram

We previously had to simulate traffic for each individual light to find an improved sequence, but that approach was limited because we couldn’t factor in the time correlation of traffic flow between lights. Now with Azure Quantum, we can address this problem from a more systems-level approach. Collaborating with Toyota Tsusho, we seek to improve the timing of large-scale traffic networks, resulting in potential economic and environmental benefits for many cities.

Kohji Nishimura, CTO, Jij

OTI Lumionics has continued their work in the Azure Quantum preview, simulating organic materials for the design of next-generation consumer electronics. Using quantum-inspired optimization, they were able to simulate the electronic structure of Ir(ppy)3, an example of a metal-organic complex used in OLED displays.

OTI diagram

Simulating a metal-organic complex of this size would require a universal quantum computer with 56 fully connected qubits with error correction, which doesn’t exist today. But with Azure Quantum, we were able to simulate the complex using our iQCC quantum algorithm—today—making progress towards a practical application of quantum methods for the design of new materials, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals.

Michael Helander, President and CEO, OTI Lumionics

Start your path to quantum development today

To help you get ready to solve these challenging problems with Azure Quantum, we’re introducing two new modules on the free online training platform Microsoft Learn and inviting you to join us for a virtual developer workshop later this year.

  1. Brush up on quantum-inspired optimization. Learn more about the optimization problems facing every industry and how solutions in Azure Quantum can help you unlock impact today.
  2. Write quantum code with Q# and the Quantum Development Kit. Learn how to write your first quantum program without having to worry about the underlying physics or hardware. Get started with the tools you’re already familiar with like Visual Studio, VS Code, and Python.
  3. Register for the Azure Quantum Developer Workshop. Join our team on July 16 for a virtual developer workshop where we’ll dive deeper into building applications on Azure Quantum.

With quantum computing, you could help solve the unsolvable. It’s the people layer of the quantum stack—you, the community of developers—who will bring about real quantum impact.

We can’t wait to see what you build.