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Microsoft: It has reached a milestone in the development of reliable quantum computers

Microsoft: It has reached a milestone in the development of reliable quantum computers

Image: Quantum

Microsoft and Quantinuum have reached a new stage in the development of reliable quantum computers, creating the most reliable qubits ever. Microsoft wants to make the new logical qubits available to customers via Azure Quantum Elements in the coming months.

One of the biggest challenges on the way to reliable quantum computers, which are expected to outperform current supercomputers several times over, is so-called noise. This refers to the uncertainties in the measurement of physical qubits and the associated error rates in calculations. Without controlling this noise, a quantum computer cannot outperform classical computers.

Logical qubits instead of physical qubits for fewer errors

Specifically in this area, Microsoft and Quantinuum, a startup from Great Britain, have made significant progress and taken the next step towards powerful quantum computing. Together, the two companies were able to create logical qubits with an error rate 800 times better than physical qubits.

This achievement was made possible through the use of Microsoft's Qubit virtualization system, which diagnoses and corrects errors based on an ion trap developed by Quantinuum. This has enabled more than 14,000 individual experiments to be performed without a single uncorrected error, according to Microsoft.

Microsoft customers should be able to access qubit logic functionality in private preview in Azure Quantum Elements (AQE) in the coming months.

Quantum computing has thus risen from the lowest level, foundational Level 1, which relies on physical qubits, to flexible Level 2, where systems operate on reliable logical qubits.

Microsoft's stated goal is to build a hybrid supercomputer on this basis, which will be powered by one hundred reliable logical qubits and will be used for research. Once Level 3 is reached, it is hoped that some of the most difficult problems in chemistry and materials research will be solved. In 2023, Microsoft announced its desire to have a real, working quantum computer in less than a decade.