The roots of Microsoft’s quantum computing effort go back nearly two decades, when Michael Freedman joined Microsoft Research to investigate the complex mathematical theory behind topological quantum computing.
Over time, the team has brought together mathematicians and condensed matter theorists interested in topological states of matter. The “Station Q” lab was established in 2005 on the campus of the University of California, Santa Barbara, to foster collaboration with theoretical physicists and start experimentally investigating the topological effects in quantum matter to perform computations.
The Santa Barbara lab became the center of Microsoft’s research in topological phases, with research in the initial years focusing on the fractional Quantum Hall effect.
In recent years, the rapid progress of engineering in superconducting nanostructures has led to a shift of focus to hybrid superconducting/semiconducting devices in more controlled environments. A global effort led by Microsoft has extended to TU Delft, Niels Bohr Institute, University of Sydney, Purdue, University of Maryland, ETH Zurich, and many other institutions around the world. Together, these researchers have made significant strides towards building a scalable architecture for a universal quantum computer.
The quantum team in Redmond has simultaneously been developing software for these new hardware systems. There, computer scientists, researchers, and engineers design quantum algorithms and next-generation quantum programming platforms.
Together, the teams are combining theoretical insights with experimental breakthroughs to develop both the hardware and the software that will enable quantum technology to fundamentally transform the face of computing.
In the news
Microsoft wants to save the world with quantum computing
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September 25, 2017 | WIRED
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Microsoft makes play for next wave of computing with quantum computing toolkit
September 25, 2017 | ars TECHNICA
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July 31, 2017 | phys.org
Science and the IT industry have high hopes for quantum computing, but descriptions of possible applications tend to be vague. Researchers at ETH Zurich have now come up with a concrete example that demonstrates what quantum computers will actually be able to achieve in the future. Read more…
The strange topology that is reshaping physics
July 19, 2017 | Nature
Topological effects might be hiding inside perfectly ordinary materials, waiting to reveal bizarre new particles or bolster quantum computing. Read more…
Quantum computers compete for “supremacy”
July 5, 2017 | Scientific American
Two technologies may be on the verge of surpassing even the most powerful digital computers in a year or so, but key challenges remain unsolved. Read more…
He built the Xbox—can he make a Microsoft product out of quantum computing?
May 24, 2017 | MIT Technology Review
Todd Holmdahl says that starting from behind won’t keep Microsoft from winning the race to commercialize quantum computing. Read more…
Quantum technology is beginning to come into its own
March 9, 2017 | The Economist
After decades as laboratory curiosities, some of quantum physics’ oddest effects are beginning to be put to use, says Jason Palmer. Read more…
Scientists hold the first quantum computer face-off
February 22, 2017 | Engadget
IBM’s and University of Maryland’s quantum computers engage in an algorithm-crunching battle. Read more…
Microsoft’s quantum mechanics
October 10, 2014 | MIT Technology Review
Can an aging corporation’s adventures in fundamental physics research open a new era of unimaginably powerful computers? Read more…