Microsoft Touts Its Quantum Computing Progress
For faster quantum computing, Microsoft builds a better qubit
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+ Google just announced quantum supremacy, a milestone where the radically different nature of a quantum computer lets it vastly outpace a traditional machine. But Microsoft expects progress of its own on redesigning the core element of quantum computing, the qubit.
Microsoft’s new approach to quantum computing is “very close,” an executive says.
+ Microsoft has been working on a qubit technology called a topological qubit that it expects will deliver benefits of quantum computing technology that today are mostly just a promise. After spending five years figuring out the complicated hardware of topological qubits, the company is almost ready to put them to use, said Krysta Svore, general manager of Microsoft’s quantum computing software work.
+ The key advantage of Microsoft’s topological qubit is that fewer physical qubits are needed to make one logical qubit, Svore said.
+ Specifically, she thinks one logical qubit will require 10 to 100 physical qubits with Microsoft’s topological qubits. That compares to something like 1,000 to 20,000 physical qubits for other approaches.
+ “We believe that overhead will be far less,” she said. That’ll mean quantum computers will become practical with far fewer qubits.
+ For comparison, Google’s Sycamore quantum computing chip used 53 physical qubits. For serious quantum computing work, researchers are hoping to reach qubit levels of at least a million.
+ One drawback of Microsoft’s topological qubit, though, is that they’re not available yet. Alternative designs might not work as well, but they’re in real-world testing today.
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