Microsoft wants to democratize the quantum computer

Microsoft wants to democratize the quantum computer

Image: Microsoft

The aim is a quantum computer that can also use scientists without knowledge of quantum physics

Microsoft flakes its commitment to build a quantum computer. "We are at a turning point", Says Todd Holmdahl. The time had come from research on development, the official Microsoft blog quotes the head of Microsoft’s Quantum Computer Team. The Software Chiefs from Redmond (US state Washington) is thus going to Google, IBM and Intel, who also try to "scalable", So expandable quantum computers to build.

The Redmonders have recruited a handpicked team of quantum physicists: Leo Kouwenhoven from the Technical University of Delft, Charles Marcus from the University of Copenhagen, Matthias Troyer from the ETH Zurich and David Reilly from the University of Sydney.

The team not only includes experimental physicists with experience in building quantum hardware. But with Matthias Troyer also a developer and tester of software for quantum computers. "Like the supercomputer, not only the hardware but also optimized software need", Says the Swiss researcher.

This shows that Microsoft wants to democratize the quantum computer. Similarly, how once Bill Gates has made the PC with the graphical user interface Windows for millions, it is apparently concerned to build a quantum computer, which also can use scientists without knowledge of quantum physics. He should not work, like current quantum computer prototypes, only under demanding laboratory conditions, ie under perfect vacuum and at low-cold temperatures.

The need is here. Experts expect quantum computers to be particularly good in simulating chemical molecules or hard corpers, which could catapult the pharmaceutical drug detection and the development of smart materials or resistant power conductors forwards. However, if this promise is in practice in practice, must still show. Microsoft speaks on his blog for a risky bet on the future.

Under physicists is still unclear, with which hardware such a more art computer should be built at all. Only in June did the experienced qaunt computer pioneers Serge Haroche and David Wineland on the Nobel Peaguing Meeting in Lindau failed, the field is still deeply in basic research.

Microsoft, Google, IBM, Intel and academic researchers are thus pursuing very different approaches. It’s about the material substrate with which a qubit should be displayed. Qubits are the smallest memory cells of a quantum computer. At the same time, they accept both digital values 0 and 1 and not only one of them, like the bits of a common computer. A qubit processes both values simultaneously and not one after the other as the normal PC. This so-called quantum parallelism is to give quantum computers a tempo account.

While many researchers use ions (charged atoms) as a qubit, Google and IBM want to implement their quantum computers with superconducting ladder loops. Microsoft turns a so-called topological qubit. This is so far only a theoretical concept that promises a particularly stable qubit, which should also function at room temperature and normal pressure. With which hardware Microsoft wants to implement this topological qubit, the software tile does not share with. It is likely that the researchers now recruited will use their previous laboratory experience and use nanobrids of semiconductors or multi-semiconductors’ nanostructures to produce such quBit.

Why Holmdahl is already speaking from the turning point to developing work, mayor with that physicists the term "development" Use in a greater stage of technology development as engineers. Holmdahl is not the only one who is auberber. It is meant that the supposedly hardest hurden are taken. The basic building blocks of a quantum computer are available. Many laboratories demonstrated in recent years that their quibes and combinations function less qubits actually work. Now it’s about building calculator with very many qubits and keeping racing without worrying.

For the solution of highly complex problems where even the large current supercomputers fail, it needs very rough quantum computers, experts call a coarse of 1000 qubits or more. But the expansion is very difficult and basically: research. Because physicists do not know how to behave as rough quantum systems. This could only calculate a quantum computer. The thing could be complicated. And bring surprises with them. She also failed when unexpected horses occur.

Scott Aaronson from the University of Texas in Austin found that even more exciting than a functioning quantum computer. Because the applicable quantum theory knows no fundamental hurde for such a device. If such an such show, a gate to new physics was opened.

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