Since last year, Microsoft has been vocal about its position on quantum computing research. The company wants to invest more in this area. With a newly announced collaboration, Microsoft is continuing its path towards building a scalable quantum computer.
Microsoft has partnered with the University of Copenhagen and boosting its investment in the Niels Bohr Institute. The company’s employees will collaborate with researchers within the institute. The purpose is to create the world’s first general-purpose scalable quantum computer.
Researchers will deal with getting the components and structure ready. Microsoft will help in the process of turning the research into something that is “tangible reality”. The company says it agreed to the partnership because the institute is already deep into development on quantum computing:
“The critical pillars for successful and productive Quantum research already exist at the University of Copenhagen – an aligned vision between Microsoft and the University, an exceptional team of top Quantum researchers, a broad and deep pool of post doctorate and student talent, and a solid baseline of facilities and equipment dedicated to Quantum research. We look forward to harnessing this to make impressive advancements in the research and development of a useful, scalable quantum computer capable of transforming the global economy and solving the world’s hardest problems,” says David Pritchard, Chief of Staff for the Artificial Intelligence and Research division at Microsoft.
The collaboration will also see the establishment of ‘Station Q Copenhagen’. This will combine research from all the university’s quantum research centers. Among these will be the Centre for Quantum Optics (Quantop), the Centre for Quantum Photonics, the Villum Centre for the Mathematics of Quantum Theory (Qmath) and the Quantum Innovation Centre (QuBiz).
Quantum computers are an important development in the ability of machines to learn. These computers have the potential to solve and execute complex mathematical calculations in quick time. Bits within a quantum computer are based on particles known as qubits.
Researchers predict machines built on qubits will offer a level of performance that has only been imagined before.
Microsoft is establishing state-of-the-art Microsoft research and development laboratories at the University of Copenhagen North campus in close proximity to the Niels Bohr Institute.
Presently, over a dozen Microsoft employees ranging from engineers to developers are situated at the University of Copenhagen. Over the course of the new long-term agreement, the size of this team will grow, partnered with University personnel in the development of a topological quantum computer.
In addition to the multi-million dollar investment in state-of-the-art facilities and equipment, Microsoft is also committing to significant quantum research funding at the University of Copenhagen.
The collaboration between the University of Copenhagen and Microsoft will be based at the Centre for Quantum Devices (Qdev) and helmed by Professor Charles Marcus. Charles Marcus is Microsoft’s Scientific Director of Station Q Copenhagen.
An agreement capturing the elements of the collaboration has been signed covering the license rights to Microsoft and the University of Copenhagen. The agreement reflects the interests of the parties and takes into account applicable legislation and guidelines in this area.
“When a company such as Microsoft chooses to situate and invest heavily into a research development center at the University of Copenhagen, it’s because we’ve had a significant focus on building up one of the world’s leading quantum research environments. We’re very proud of this and are confident that it will reinforce a strengthened perception of Denmark as an attractive destination for international investments,” said Thomas Bjørnholm, Prorector for Research and Innovation at the University of Copenhagen.