Microsoft Ignites Passion For Quantum Computing

2017-10-19

At the Microsoft Ignite Conference a couple of weeks ago there was a moment when the entire panel of experts erupted with laughter.

Why?

Stage management issues resulted in a curtain failing to glide skywards and unveil the quantum computing box - that the panel had been assembled to discuss - perfectly encapsulated one of the key points about quantum computing. The quantum box was there, but it wasn’t.

Allow us to explain a little further:

Quantum computing is coming. Not today, not tomorrow but it is on the horizon. The reason for its existence is our perpetual need to go faster and faster and this is why quantum computing is proposed to be the future of our industry.

Normal computing, as you probably know if you’re reading this, is done using bits which reflect a value of either 0 or 1. Quantum computing will use qubits which will be able to simultaneously be in a superposition of 0 and 1. There and not there, just like the quantum box behind the guffawing panel.

That qubits will be able to take on positions of 0 and 1 at the same time means the time taken to crack super-complex mathematical problems will be greatly reduced. For example, a problem that would take our current computers a lifetime to resolve (presumably before hitting the blue screen of death) would take a quantum computer a matter of hours.

As far as Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, is concerned: “It would be so powerful it’s able to model nature itself”. In making this statement Nadella implied that quantum computing could help to address issues such as climate change, health and agriculture.

However, while it is exciting to think that quantum computing could help us to map an insane number of probabilities for countless scenarios (countless for us, no problem for the quantum computer) we need to keep in mind that Microsoft is nowhere near ready to unleash quantum computing.

In fact, despite the eventual appearance of a quantum box on stage at the conference, Microsoft had only research to show for its quantum project. The quantum box on show was used to illustrate their theory on topological qubits. The idea here is that extreme cold can help to maintain stable qubit computing.

Does this all sound a little too theoretical and not “now” enough? Well then here’s news that may be a little more exciting, at least to those who enjoy toying with code. Microsoft has also developed a new programming language and tools they have been working on using their Visual Studio. They’re keen for developers to begin playing with the new tools and language which will be made available soon.

Microsoft didn’t unveil the name for the new language but we’re hoping it is something catchy. We’ll be sure to keep a close eye on this and let you know when the language and tools are made ready.

Microsoft’s Visual Studio also incorporates Visual Basic, a programming language on which EDC4IT runs an excellent 7-day course.

The course can be tailored to meet your needs or those of your team and we’re happy to organise an event. Just get in touch and let us know.