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.