September 28, 2017
by Karen Renner

Microsoft’s Quantum Mechanics

Microsoft is 42 years old this year. From programming in BASIC on an Altair8800 computer, Microsoft has moved on to quantum mechanics.

  At a recent conference in Orlando for corporate customers the CEO, Satya Nadella, announced the release of a new programming language for quantum computers. He said the technology would "help us tackle some of the biggest challenges we face" and suggested quantum computers would allow breakthroughs in energy and medicine.

What is the deal about Quantum computers?

Conventional computers manage data as bits that can be either 1 or 0. In a quantum computer, these bits can be effectively 1 and 0 at the same time. This allows for shortcuts through tough calculations. Theory suggests some problems that would take millions of years on a conventional supercomputer might take minutes on a quantum computer. In theory, quantum computers will unlock calculating power by exploiting the way quantum effects reorder traditional rules.

Microsoft's new quantum programming language is offered as part of the Visual Studio toolkit.