How do quantum computers work?

In quantum computing, a qubit (short for quantum bit) is a unit of quantum information—similar to a classical bit. Where classical bits hold a single binary value such as a 0 or 1, a qubit can hold both values at the same time in what's known as a superposition state. When multiple qubits act coherently, they can process multiple options simultaneously. This allows them to process information in a fraction of the time it would take even the fastest nonquantum systems.

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The benefits of quantum computing

Where current computers would require tens of billions of years to solve some of the world’s most challenging problems, a quantum computer would be able to find a solution in only minutes, hours, or days. Quantum computing will enable researchers to simulate and develop new catalysts and materials, improve medicines, accelerate advances in artificial intelligence, and even answer fundamental questions about the origins of our universe.

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Scalability in quantum computing

Qubits are highly fragile, and any outside disturbance can cause the quantum state to collapse. With this common challenge, the best way to scale a quantum computer is by using a more stable type of qubit—one with more resistance to disturbances. A topological qubit provides this stability, storing information much like a knot on a string. Regardless of what happens to the string, the knot remains. Quantum computers with topological qubits will have a more solid foundation and the ability to scale at a much higher rate.

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Getting started with quantum computing

Get ready for the quantum era by becoming a quantum developer. By learning a quantum-focused programming language like Q#, you’ll be able to write quantum algorithms to bring these new, world-changing solutions to life.

The Microsoft Quantum Development Kit provides everything you need to get started, including tools and resources to learn the basics of quantum development and the Q# programming language, two types of simulators, and a growing collection of open source libraries and samples.

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