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Microsoft and Quantinuum announce a new milestone in making a reliable quantum computer

microsoft quantum computing

In June 2023, Microsoft revealed its own roadmap that it said would be its guide towards making a reliable quantum supercomputer. Today, the company revealed what it said was a new breakthrough towards completing that goal, with the help of its hardware partner Quantinuum.

In a blog post, Microsoft stated it used its own qubit-virtualization system and combined it with Quantinuum’s ion-trap hardware. As a result, it was able to conduct over 14,000 experiments that did not generate an error. These efforts allowed Microsoft and Quantinuum to create reliable logical qubits that had an error rate of 800 times better than using physical qubits.

Microsoft says this new effort means that quantum computing has moved on from its lowest Foundation Level 1, which uses physical qubits. The company now says it has moved on to the Resilient Level 2, which allows these computers to run on reliable logical qubits.

Microsoft added:

Our qubit-virtualization system, which filters and corrects errors, combined with Quantinuum’s hardware demonstrates the largest gap between physical and logical error rates reported to date. This is the first demonstrated system with four logical qubits that improves the logical over the physical error rate by such a large order of magnitude.

Microsoft also says these logical qubits and their features will be available for subscribers to the company's Azure Quantum Elements services sometime in the coming months. Far more technical information on this breakthrough can be found at the Microsoft Azure Quantum Blog.

The final level that Microsoft wants to hit with its quantum computing efforts is Level 3. Microsoft says that at this level, quantum computers will be able to solve complex projects and problems that cannot be currently handled by a normal supercomputer. Back in June 2023, Microsoft told TechCrunch that it expects to create a true quantum computer in less than a decade.

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