Microsoft yesterday unveiled its own roadmap for building a quantum supercomputer, embodying a path along the company’s years of topological qubit research. Just last year, Microsoft made a breakthrough that it ‘gambled’ that it would pay off from research in topological qubits, a qubit type that is (even more) exotic than usual. The company now says it can achieve a research breakthrough towards a functional quantum supercomputer within a decade.
Krysta Svore, vice president of advanced quantum development at Microsoft, said: Who answered in an interview with TechCrunch “We are looking at the quantum supercomputer roadmap and timeframe in terms of years, not decades,” Microsoft said.
Well, that’s it. It’s a pretty aggressive “roadmap”. Of course, Microsoft has been on a publicly promised path for some time now. The company has advanced quantum computing research in many other areas, even though until last year no single coherent topological qubit had been shown. . There are many areas in quantum computing, such as control mechanisms, noise reduction, and deployment, that Microsoft could have tackled while waiting for topological qubits. Areas where the company’s research was already aligned with the certainty that they could actually generate them, intertwine them, and keep them consistent.
“We are really at this basic implementation level right now,” Svoir told TechCrunch. “We have noisy medium-scale quantum machines. They are built around physical qubits and are not yet reliable enough to do anything practical and useful. Or commercial, the next level we need to reach as an industry is the level of resilience, we need not only to be able to operate on physical qubits alone, but also to turn those physical qubits into error correcting code. It should be embedded and used as a unit that functions as a logical qubit.”
Essentially, Microsoft needs to do the same work that other companies are doing for their own qubits. Microsoft should expand the number of qubits it can deploy. We need to ensure that those qubits are resilient (stable) so that they can be used for complex computations. And we need to find a way to reduce the error rate. Microsoft hopes to achieve a quantum supercomputer when it reaches a million quantum operations per second, a failure rate of one operation in a trillion.
The number of qubits required for Microsoft’s topological qubit architecture is currently unknown, but currently requires a ratio of approximately 2 error-correcting qubits for every qubit in operation (a matter of qubit reliability and Similarly, values vary by technology). ease of manufacture, and many other factors).
Microsoft is essentially saying that it is as competitive as any other quantum powerhouse in building the world’s first quantum supercomputer. And it hasn’t been an easy road. One of the subheadings of Microsoft’s blog post about this announcement reads: High risk, high return approach. And the company has arguably some of the most talented quantum researchers in the world. The fact that Microsoft has reached a breakthrough in topological qubits is proof enough. But to be fair, so is IBM. Quantinuum is similar, and (interestingly) also dabbled in topological qubits to enhance error correction in trapped ion qubits. Intel, too, has made great strides in designing, manufacturing, and delivering QPUs (quantum processing units), as have other quantum computing-focused companies.
Unless your product is a modern version of vaporware or snake oil, you can’t work in the quantum computing field without having some of the brightest minds of our generation (the same applies to other scientific fields, of course). increase).
However, some of Microsoft’s competitors have already established relative footholds in the industry. They have provided pure cloud-based access to quantum processing units (QPUs), software-based solutions, or quantum computing hardware. Also, IBM’s own roadmap leaves room for its own quantum supercomputer to come about around the same time as Microsoft did, even if the company hasn’t made it as clear as his Microsoft did yesterday in his decade. is left.
Both of these companies have been working with their own qubits longer than Microsoft. We are already facing obstacles and unforeseen difficulties in realizing the vision of quantum computing. Microsoft, even if its technology is different from others, is sure to hit equal obstacles. Any engineer will tell you, and as many of us longtime hardware enthusiasts have taught us extensively, specs on paper (or research) don’t necessarily translate into the real world. does not mean
But that’s where Microsoft is a two trillion dollar company comes into play. You need a huge amount of money to fix wrinkles, right?
Svore concluded by saying that Microsoft is well on its way to building reliable qubits. The company expects these to be around 10nm in size each, which is small, but not as small as the silicon qubits that Intel already spins and operates in its Tunnelfalls QPUs for research. But to be fair, the quantum world doesn’t work quite like a transistor. Just because some qubits are smaller doesn’t mean it will be easier to simply mash together more qubits towards a million qubits.
Interestingly, Microsoft also provided a new metric for measuring quantum computer performance. IBM’s proposed CLOPS standard does not seem to align with Microsoft’s view. Microsoft believes that their proposed acronym for rQOPS (short for reliable Quantum Operations Per Second), which measures the number of reliable operations that can be performed per second, is more appropriate.
No one believed that Microsoft was sleeping in the hopeful topological qubit shadow while other companies scrambled to get ahead with other, better-understood types of qubits. The company simply rolled around the technology of choice. The company now promises to deliver a quantum supercomputer — one that wreaks havoc on standard non-quantum cryptography — within a decade. The company now wants to race ahead of its competitors despite a late start. But Microsoft now has a clearer view of the road ahead. And the sound of the dawn of quantum computing is still ringing in industry ears.