While quantum computing promises to help solve some of the great challenges ahead, we are still in the early days of what will be possible. Today’s quantum computers enable exciting research and early development. However, innovators find themselves limited by the small scale of these systems and are eager to do more. At IEEE Quantum Week 2022, we share how Microsoft is empowering innovators with quantum at scale, by bringing forward tools like resource estimation to design and optimize quantum solutions today that will run on tomorrow’s scaled quantum machines, while also learning how small instances of solutions perform on today’s diverse set of maturing quantum hardware.

In his keynote, Wim van Dam, a Principal Researcher at Microsoft and expert in quantum algorithms, will outline three foundational elements needed to achieve quantum at scale: an industrial-scale quantum machine, the power of the cloud, and an ecosystem of innovators. Azure Quantum, our platform for quantum innovation and exploration, is where these three elements come together, to unleash global good.

Engineer an industrial-scale quantum machine

While at first glance our approach at Microsoft may appear more challenging—requiring new physics to be exhibited and an entirely new kind of qubit—over the last decade we’ve carefully designed an advanced quantum system that we believe will be a more promising approach to scaled quantum computing. And now we are working to engineer this full-stack quantum machine fueled by the Azure cloud, and powered by topological qubits. We want to bring it to life so that the world can benefit from its advantages. We’ve chosen topological qubits because they’re theorized to be inherently more stable than qubits produced with existing methods, without sacrificing size or speed. Earlier this year we shared a scientific breakthrough, demonstrating the physics required for a topological qubit, which validates our path to quantum at scale.

Unleash the power of the cloud

Quantum computers alone will not be able to solve the pressing challenges of our time. We need to pair them with the power of advanced classical compute, available today in the cloud. That’s why Microsoft is collaborating with our partners to enable high-performance hybrid quantum computing, bringing classical compute as close to the quantum processing unit (QPU) as possible, while also enabling the quantum state to remain coherent during classical computation.

Nurture an ecosystem of innovators

We believe that it will take our global, collective genius to identify the scenarios that will benefit most from quantum computing. To unleash the power of the quantum-fueled cloud will require a community coming together to take the best of many styles of compute and combine them into new and amazing things. That’s why we’re committed to nurturing an ecosystem of innovators on Azure Quantum—our open, collaborative platform for quantum exploration and innovation. Researchers and developers can experiment with their code of choice on a diverse portfolio of today’s leading quantum hardware, including the recently added systems from Rigetti and IonQ’s Aria. Innovators can leverage Quantum Intermediate Representation (QIR), a universal mid-layer language that enables communication between high-level languages and machines.

Soon, innovators and explorers will also be able to use our new Resource Estimation tool which provides estimates for the number of logical and physical qubits as well as runtimes required to execute quantum applications on post-NISQ, fault-tolerant quantum computers. Understanding the number of qubits required for a quantum solution and the differences between qubit technologies allows innovators to prepare and refine their quantum solutions to run on tomorrow’s scaled quantum machines. Learn more about a recent project with Goldman Sachs using Q# and existing resource estimation capabilities that will be previewed at IEEE Quantum Week.

Increase diversity in quantum computing

Microsoft is committed to helping the world benefit from quantum computing, and we believe the benefits of this technology will be amplified by helping to both grow and increase diversity in the people working on advancing it. That’s why we’re investing millions of dollars with a focus on developing quantum talent from underrepresented backgrounds. We have developed a strategic collaboration on education with Georgia Tech, a leading technical university with a history in teaching and advancing quantum computing. Since insights are born from a deep understanding, a key pillar of the strategic collaboration will be the development of hands-on lab experiences, along with new quantum-specific courses. We’re thrilled to join forces with Georgia Tech and others to help expand the pipeline of diverse quantum engineers who will ultimately shape the next era of computing.

Get started with Azure Quantum

Whether you’re looking to begin your own learning journey, seeking to explore quantum hardware, or developing quantum algorithms for a scaled future, Azure Quantum provides a platform for your quantum exploration and innovation. You can learn more about how to get started with Azure Quantum through our quantum computing learning resources.

Learn more about Microsoft’s approach at these IEEE events

We look forward to engaging with you at IEEE Quantum Week either in person or virtually, to answer your questions and invite you to expand your quantum research and development through Azure Quantum.

Please join us live or online at the following workshops, tutorials, and panels during IEEE:

  • Wednesday, September 21: 10:00 AM–11:30 AM MT
    • Panel: Architectures for logical qubits
  • 10:00 AM–4:45 PM MT
    • Workshop: Progress and challenges in Quantum Intermediate Representations
  • 3:15 PM–4:45 PM MT
    • Panel: Being your authentic self: Promoting DEI in quantum computing