The demand for faster computing is very high nowadays, and that’s one of the main reasons why modern computer hardware cannot seem to keep up with this trend. Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is very much aware of this fact and has now set its eyes on rolling out quantum computing hardware as early as possible.
The company released a post on its blog Monday, announcing its renewed commitment to focus on advancing quantum computing and to put into reality concepts that have been just in theory for many years now.
Leading the team of scientists and engineers to create scalable quantum hardware and software is one of Microsoft’s top executives, Todd Holmdahl, who has been instrumental in the development and success of a number of Microsoft’s initially unusual hardware, but are now staples of the company’s product line. These projects include the company’s first foray into the gaming console market which is the original Xbox, its companion motion sensing hardware the Kinect and the truly revolutionary augmented reality project, the HoloLens.
Despite his vast experience in helping develop new hardware for the company, Holmdahl understands that quantum computing is on a whole new level of difficulty and complexity. “I think we’re at an inflection point in which we are ready to go from research to engineering” he said about the current status of Microsoft’s quantum computing efforts. “But you have to take some amount of risk in order to make a big impact in the world, and I think we’re at the point now that we have the opportunity to do that.” he adds.
Along with Holmdahl, the Redmond-based company has added two luminaries in quantum computing to the team; Leo Kouwenhoven and Charles Marcus. Microsoft is confident that their expertise in the field, along with the engineering efforts to put quantum theories into real world use, will help to push the technology into new heights.
While Microsoft has already been doing studies on quantum computing for decades now, this recent move by the company to push research and development into overdrive is not surprising at all. Processing chips in modern computers are based on decades old transistor technology. At present, chip manufacturers are able to cram billions of transistors into a very small die, but it seems that they are now reaching the limit as to how many more transistors they can add into what are already very crowded chips. Also, these processors can only make calculations in a sequential manner, hence the need for increased clock speeds for faster performance. However, this results in more heat produced by the chips, which is detrimental to their integrity.
Considering these limitations and the fact that computing devices are getting smaller and smaller but need to be faster; it is essential that breakthrough computer hardware that is much more efficient is developed.
With quantum computers, qubits are being used instead of transistors. These qubits are able to make calculations in a parallel manner which should speed up efficiency. However, the biggest obstacle here is that qubits can only function properly when they are free from disturbances like heat or electromagnetic interference.
With this new team of quantum computing experts and an even bigger focus on the technology, Microsoft aims to solve these issues and hopefully produce usable quantum computing tools in the next few years.