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Microsoft plans to own quantum computing like it owns Windows PCs

Mark Hachman | Sept. 26, 2017
This time, the company is developing the programming language and the chips themselves.

The problem is that qubits can also be unstable, which could break a computing cycle. Researchers are trying to address those issues through different means. For example, D-Wave’s technique of quantum annealing uses a magnetic field to perform qubit operations. IBM uses what it calls the gate model. 

Roughly speaking, the concept of Microsoft’s approach, a topological qubit, is like a knot in a string. The information that a qubit normally carries is physically separated or fractionalized, spread out among two Majorana particles, according to Michael Freedman, a Fields Medal winner who now works at Microsoft. That makes them more resilient, he said.

What Microsoft hopes to accomplish is to take everything in a quantum computing stack—from developing the chips itself, to a computer, to the languages and software necessary to run them—and build them itself. When will that be accomplished? Microsoft executives didn't say. 

This story used reporting previously gathered by Agam Shah.


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