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InfoQ Homepage News Microsoft Opens up Its Azure Quantum Platform for Public Preview

Microsoft Opens up Its Azure Quantum Platform for Public Preview

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Announced at Ignite 2019, Azure Quantum is a full-stack, cloud ecosystem enabling access to diverse quantum hardware and software. Aimed at developers, researchers, and customers, Azure Quantum is now in public preview.

As its main tenet, Azure Quantum provides a single development interface to quantum computer and solutions.

You can access quantum computing capabilities in the cloud from our hardware partners, Honeywell Quantum Solutions and IonQ, through their trapped-ion quantum systems.

Honeywell Quantum Solutions offers quantum computers featuring 10 fully connected qubits with a quantum volume of 128. According to Honeywell, its latest System Model H1 can run circuits that cannot be run on other quantum computers thanks to two exclusive features: mid-circuit measurement and qubit reuse (MCMR).

The ability to measure an individual qubit, or a subset of qubits, without destroying the quantum information of the remaining qubits in the system is a unique capability of the Honeywell architecture. By employing this technique, users can access deeper circuits that would typically be impossible with a limited number of physical qubits.

IonQ, on the other hand, has recently released a 32-qubit trapped-ion quantum computer claiming a massive quantum volume much higher than competitors'.

Besides quantum hardware, Azure Quantum also provides cloud-based access to algorithms developed at Microsoft and 1QBit. Microsoft Quantum Computing Kit includes libraries for chemistry, machine learning, and numerics. 1QBit provides hardware-agnostic algorithms for material science and drug discovery, market sentiment analysis, and chest X-rays interpretation, and has integrated its OpenQEMIST solution with the Microsoft Development Kit.

One of the key components of Azure Quantum is Q#, Microsoft's open-source domain specific language for expressing high-level quantum algorithms. Besides syntactical constructs similar to those found in traditional programming languages, Q# includes specialized constructs, such as the Qubit data type, operators corresponding to quantum gates and measurements, functors like adjoint and controlled that are the equivalent of "undo" and conditional operations.

While constantly improving, quantum hardware is not yet sufficiently mature to be used to run quantum algorithms to solve real-world problems. Still, Microsoft is actively pursuing an approach they call quantum-inspired algorithms aimed at applying quantum techniques to real-world problems using a combination of classical and quantum hardware. If you would like to explore the key concepts in quantum computing and take your first step with Azure Quantum, Microsoft provides great self-learning material on its website.

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