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  • Mike J. Walker

Episode 52: Demystifying Quantum Computing

Updated: Feb 21, 2021

Quantum computing will introduce radical transformations across many areas like: medical and life sciences, security and encryption, and will super charge artificial intelligence. Companies like Microsoft, Google, and IBM are in a space race to build reliable quantum computing as a service. Mike J. Walker speaks to Delbert Murphy, Quantum Computing Expert at Microsoft. Quantum computing will change the world, but how will it? Listen in to hear what's real and fantasy about the quantum computing era.

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Inside the Episode

00:00 - Intro

About Quantum Computing

What is it?

Quantum computing applies the properties of quantum physics to process information. Operating with nanoscale components at temperatures colder than intergalactic space, quantum computing has the potential to solve some of the world’s toughest challenges. Quantum computers will enable new discoveries in the areas of healthcare, energy, environmental systems, smart materials, and beyond.

How does it work?

In quantum computing, a quantum bit is a unit of quantum information—like a classical bit. Where classical bits hold a single binary value such as a 0 or 1, a qubit can hold both values at the same time. When multiple qubits act coherently, they can process multiple options simultaneously. This allows them to process information in a fraction of the time it would take even the fastest nonquantum systems.

Benefits of Quantum Computing

Where current computers would require billions of years to solve the world’s most challenging problems, a quantum computer would find a solution in minutes, hours, or days. Quantum computing will enable researchers to develop new catalysts and materials, improve medicines, accelerate advances in artificial intelligence, and answer fundamental questions about the origins of our universe.

Real-World Application Areas

Quantum computers will deliver value across numerous application areas. They include optimization problems spanning all industries, quantum simulation problems—simulating physical systems that are quantum in nature such as complex chemistry and materials science problems—and machine learning.

  • Energy and utilities

  • Financial services

  • Optimization solutions

  • Transportation and logistics

Quantum Computing Development Kits and Algorithm Libraries

Learning Resources

The following is a representative list (not comprehensive) of common courses for devising quantum competency:

About Microsoft's Azure Quantum stack

Azure Quantum is a full-stack open cloud ecosystem. Build once and access a diverse set of quantum resources: pre-built solutions, dev tools, accelerated classical hardware, and quantum hardware.

Quantum hardware and classical compute

Many different types of quantum hardware are available today or are in development across the globe, including trapped-ion, superconducting qubits, and our approach based on topological qubits.

Our optimization solutions, developed with Microsoft partners, can be run on classical large-scale compute resources as well as hardware-accelerated on specialized hardware.

Hyper-scale cloud

The integration of Azure Quantum with the wider Azure ecosystem enables you to make best use of existing hyper-scale cloud infrastructure right alongside your quantum solutions and quantum hardware.

Software, tools, and services

Azure Quantum provides a comprehensive open-source development kit that helps you implement end-to-end optimization solutions and develop programs to target a wide range of quantum hardware.

The Quantum development kit includes the high-level quantum programming language Q# and Python support to formulate and submit your optimization problems to Azure Quantum. The kit enables you to write code once and execute against multiple different targets. You can remain in a familiar environment, such as Jupyter Notebooks, Visual Studio Code, or Visual Studio, and make full use of powerful debugging and resource estimation capabilities to start designing algorithms and tackle your hardest problems.

Azure Quantum resources

About Delbert Murphy

Delbert Murphy is a Cloud Solution Architect and Data Scientist at Microsoft and leads Microsoft's Quantum Computing Community, a group of 1700 Microsoft employees around the world interested in quantum computing. The Community's goals are to provide internal readiness and learning opportunities to Microsoft employees and act as an information source to address questions, discuss topics, and support outreach on Microsoft's full-stack approach to quantum computing.

Delbert has been a developer, designer, and architect for software which runs mainframe security systems, large-scale eCommerce sites, personal computers, hand-held devices, automobiles, toll booths, medical instruments, tax authorities, and nuclear power plants.

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