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Insights: Microsoft's Quantum Computing Lead Explains How It Works

July 15, 2019 00:00 AM UTC
- Updated May 05, 2020 14:44 PM UTC

This technology will allow us to perform years' worth of computations in a fraction of the time.

[INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC] KRYSTA SVORE: When we think about quantum computers, we're really harnessing the power of quantum mechanics and these amazing physical properties to bring together and then design an algorithm using these properties and really outpace, out-speed our digital technologies by incredible numbers, billions of years. And when you think about your digital technology, at the core, you have a transistor. It's a switch, right? It's like a light switch. It's on or off. Everything in your digital-- whether it's your phone or your laptop or your car, for that matter-- it's working on bits. And in the quantum computer, we work on something called a qubit, a quantum bit, which now instead of just being like a transistor that's on or off, we can design a more exotic transistor that now can take on simultaneously both of those states, 0 and 1 simultaneously. And when you harness that plus these other amazing properties-- that perhaps people have heard about spooky action at a distance that Einstein often talked about, or Schrodinger's cat, where there's a cat in a box and it's dead and alive at the same time. All these properties we bring together, plus interference, to design quantum algorithms that bring, for some problems, billions of years of compute time down to just a matter of seconds, minutes, hours, days. [INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC]