Station Q in sunny Santa Barbara, California is made up of their own highly diverse set of theorists and experimentalists seeking to build a functional quantum computer. The team is made up of experts with a backgrounds in both quantum computing and computer science.
The following video discuss the background and concepts behind Quantum Computing
The prospect of quantum computing represents a break from traditional digital computing and a herculean advance into another world. Perhaps John Markoff of the New York Times summed it up best when he wrote, “Conventional computing is based on a bit that can either be a 1 or a 0… but quantum computing is based on qubits, which simultaneously represent both 1 and 0 values. If they are placed in an ‘entangled state’—physically separated but acting as though they are connected—with many other qubits, they can represent a vast number of values simultaneously.”
And with that, the existing limitations of processing speed are thrown out the window. We’re talking exponential here, like if you saved a penny one day, then two pennies the next, and four the next, and so on, you’d have $10.7 million in 30 days. That’s the scale of potential in quantum computing. It could solve longstanding problems in everything from cancer cures to greenhouse gases. In so many words, the restrictions of digital simply can’t compete.
So, yes, quantum computing, once achieved, might be able to tell us about the origins of the universe or how many angels can dance on a pinhead, but the looming questions are “How is it practical for everyday use?” and “Why is Microsoft doubling down on this esoteric field?”
Let’s start with the first question, making it practical. The other question—Microsoft’s big investment—is perhaps an easier answer.
Dr. Krysta Svore from Station Q said, “Microsoft, as a technology leader, should be ambitious, and we have the resources to actually do it. A company like Microsoft, that wants to revolutionize a state of computing, has to be involved. There is no choice.”
Microsoft isn’t the only player at the table. IBM and Google has been in the game for some time, and now other competitors are placing their bets. In a sense, quantum computing is something of a land rush, with researchers and companies lining up, ready to stake their claim. Quantum computing, in this context, becomes as much about solving big problems as it is about big business.
Station Q is a symbol of collaboration. Microsoft has been developing its academic relationships at universities and among scholars for many years, so there is already a foundation for partnership and trust.
The technology in quantum computing could bring about these changes in our lifetime, or our children’s lifetime. And all that’s certainly quantum. Station Q so clearly illustrates, this building block of shared vision, goals, and strategies is typified by having a common view of the product and business environment, who we’re serving, and the competition. There is also clarity around strategic imperatives. It means having the agility and flexibility to re-align goals and resources in real time in response to rapidly changing conditions.
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