Six Months On
Microsoft is one of the leading players in the quantum tech ecosystem. You can get a sense of this in an exclusive interview The Quantum Insider had with Krysta Svore — Distinguished Engineer and VP of Quantum Software at Microsoft — last May at The Economist Impact event in London.
“First and foremost, what we’ve done is invest in quantum computing — from the machine to the software to the algorithm. From the beginning, we’ve thought about what can this be used for,” said Svore at the time, highlighting the importance of architecting a complete stack.
More than six months on, has anything changed?
A good place to find out was from Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, who participated in an interview — conducted by the Founder of the World Economic Forum (WEF) Klaus Schwab — at the World Economic Forum 2023 in Davos, Switzerland this month. It was here, on stage, that Schwab asked Microsoft’s leader about the status of its quantum computing program.
“In the last year, there have been some real breakthroughs because we’ve had an approach to quantum where we are trying to not just achieve quantum supremacy but you know, to be able to build a general-purpose quantum computer you need to have a sufficient number of stable qubits,” answered Nadella Schwab’s question as to where the company stands in terms of research in quantum.
Before taking over from Steve Ballmer in 2014 as CEO and John W. Thompson in 2021 as chairman, Nadella was the Executive Vice President of Microsoft’s cloud and enterprise group, responsible for building and running the company’s computing platforms.
Nadella was named a Time 100 honouree in 2018, Financial Times Person of the Year and Fortune magazine Businessperson of the Year in 2019, recognized as Global Indian Business Icon at CNBC-TV18’s India Business Leader Awards in Mumbai in 2020, and last year he was awarded Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian award in India by the Government of India.
Nadella continued by saying the approach Microsoft has taken is the company is building a general-purpose quantum computer and has published the results of some of the breakthroughs in the last year.
“So I do think it’s still, you know, ways away,” said Nadella, “it’s not here today, but I think the interesting thing is the software stack that needs to be built for quantum is getting built actively. In fact, that you can simulate quantum algorithms on classical is one place where we can already start benefitting. But let’s face it,” he went on, “there are lots of things that are happening that are rapidly moving, whether it’s on the encryption side or how you in the post-quantum world protect yourself.”
Feature image: Klaus Schwab & Satya Nadella. Credit: World Economic Forum