Quantum computing, a frontier of technology based on the peculiar laws of quantum physics, holds the promise of revolutionizing various types of calculations. While quantum computers remain some distance away from becoming a practical reality, research in this domain is making consistent strides. Among the tech giants competing in the quest for quantum supremacy, Microsoft has now unveiled its roadmap with an ambitious goal: building its own quantum supercomputer within the next decade.
The foundational unit of quantum calculations is the qubit, or quantum bit. Last year, Microsoft celebrated a significant milestone by announcing the successful creation of a qubit based on the Majorana particle, a fermion with the unique property of being its own antiparticle. The latest breakthroughs and developments in this endeavor have been documented in a detailed article published by Microsoft’s researchers in the journal Physical Review B.
Microsoft’s roadmap comprises six distinct stages, each marking a crucial advancement towards realizing the quantum supercomputer. Currently, qubits are not sufficiently reliable for practical applications. The next phase involves the implementation of error correction at the hardware level, a concept known as a topological qubit. Subsequently, these qubits will be braided, a process that aims to reduce the occurrence of errors. It’s noteworthy that Google, one of Microsoft’s main competitors in the quantum computing arena, has already succeeded in weaving non-abelian anyons, a significant development in this field.
Microsoft envisions accomplishing the sixth and final step of its roadmap, the construction of a fully operational quantum supercomputer, within the next decade. Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO, has expressed the transformative potential of such a machine. He believes it could condense 250 years’ worth of progress in chemistry and materials science into a mere 25 years, underscoring the profound impact quantum computing could have on various scientific and technological domains.