MICROSOFT HAS made a significant commitment to quantum computing with the announcement of a new programming language aimed at encouraging new learners in the field.
Quantum computing is still in its infancy but has the potential to result in machines that can calculate thousands, perhaps even millions of times faster than the current generation.
An announcement at Microsoft's Ignite conference confirmed that the company will be integrating a new language into Visual Studio, designed to work on both a quantum simulator and an actual quantum computer.
In a blog post, the company explains that it has been kicking about with the whole quantum thing for two decades and gives, as an example, that Cortana, Microsoft's AI voice assistant, could, theoretically have been trained in a day under quantum, rather than a month, if the tech was right.
To that end, the company is working on building a topological qubit. This is something of a challenge as the atmospheric requirements for a qubit alone are challenging enough. The slightest variance in temperature could see the quantum state become a big pile of nothing.
The system is set to be available to preview, free of charge by the end of the year and will come with libraries and tutorials to show developers interested in tackling tomorrow's computing challenges how to scale out a problem over 30-40 logical qubits, even though they don't exist.
"For the first time in 70 years we're looking at a way to build a computing system that is just completely different. It's not an incremental tune-up or improvement. It's a qualitatively different thing," said Richard Mundee, who has been working on Microsoft's Quantum gubbins for the past two decades.
Meanwhile, research on the elusive qubits continues at Microsoft's Quantum Research Centre in Santa Barbara. µ
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