In order to create a quantum computer that can solve some of the world’s most pressing questions, Microsoft estimates that at least a million stable qubits will be required. To achieve this, the machine will need to be integrated with a peta-scale compute platform that can manage between ten to one hundred terabits per second of data moving between the quantum and classical machine.
With this Integrated Hybrid feature, Microsoft is opening up a new way to use classical code alongside quantum code. Not only can you mix these two languages together to create new types of algorithms, but you can also control the behavior of qubits based on classical information. This is a first in the industry and could pave the way for more complex quantum applications down the road.
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In order to bring classical and quantum computing together, researchers are working on developing error-correction protocols. This massive amount of classical compute will be essential in effectively controlling a quantum machine.
There is still much to be learned about how to scale up quantum computing, which means that we are likely a few years away from even being able to build small-scale versions of these machines in the lab. However, researchers have demonstrated that it is possible to create scaled-up versions of quantum computers in data centers through what is known as a public cloud. This means that large numbers of classical computer cores can be integrated with quantum machines in order to achieve the requisite level of scale.
In order for classical computers to run the algorithms that quantum machines use, a lot of classical computations must be done beforehand. This process can take weeks or even months, and there is always the potential for mistakes along the way. The feedback loop between quantum machines and classical computers can be quite complicated and slow, meaning that many calculations may need to take place in order to achieve a desired outcome.
Researchers’ ability to look at how quantum and classical data interact in practice is set to become a lot more tangible with the upcoming release of Microsoft’s new Integrated Hybrid feature. This will allow them to run key algorithms in the toolkit for quantum computing, as well as test how classical data reacts when it is fed back into a quantum computer. Until now, much of this was theoretical but now it will be possible to do it in hardware. This could pave the way for significant breakthroughs in our understanding of both these types of data and their interactions.
Quantum computers have the potential to revolutionize many fields, from medicine to cryptography. However, without an effective means of harnessing their power, they remain largely theoretical concepts.Microsoft’s massive cloud holds a great chance of turning quantum computing into a reality for businesses and consumers alike. By providing a stable and reliable platform, the cloud can enable the widespread use of quantum algorithms and provide users with access to the kind of stellar classical computing that is currently only available in dedicated data centers.