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Microsoft Memo Points to Increased Investment in Quantum Computing

microsoft quantum
microsoft quantum

Insider Brief

  • Microsoft is allocating resources to continue its investment in quantum computing and artificial intelligence, according to Business Insider.
  • An internal document suggests that Microsoft is investments in quantum, AI and cloud computing.
  • Over the last year, Microsoft has reported several critical research advances in quantum computing and formed quantum research collaborations with leaders in quantum research and development.
  • Image: Microsoft Quantum

While Microsoft cuts  jobs from its Azure cloud business, the tech giant is driving hard with investments in quantum computing and artificial intelligence (AI), according to an internal memo obtained by Business Insider.

The memo from executive Jason Zander, reported by BI, indicates that the Azure staff reductions were based on Microsoft’s need to reallocate resources toward AI, or the “need to purse AI investments.” However, Zander also outlined areas where the company plans to “increase investments,” zeroing in on quantum computing.

“Looking ahead, we will increase investments in Quantum and Science, demonstrating the exciting possibilities of AI and cloud computing,” Zander wrote in the memo, as reported by BI.

Quantum computing represents a fundamentally different approach to processing information compared to classical computers. It’s a type of computing that — while not yet in a practical stage that can be used for everyday computing tasks — is rapidly developing into a powerful way to tackle certain calculations that classical computers struggle with, for example optimization tasks.More practically, quantum computing could promote advances in cryptography, materials science and drug discovery by tackling some of those problems that seem intractable for classical computers.

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It is also a field that Microsoft has been steadily establishing leadership in while developing critical research collaborations. Quantum computing has been growing in importance among major tech competitors, such as Google, IBM and others.

In his memo, Zander recognized this research leadership role, citing two key Microsoft advances in the quantum realm. He touted the “discovery of a new battery electrolyte that he said uses 70% less lithium” and claimed Microsoft’s “first demonstration of reliable logical qubits.”

“We have more innovations like this already under way and are seeing an acceleration of discovery with our customers as well,” Zander wrote, according to BI’s reporting.

The investment in quantum computing comes as Microsoft restructures its cloud initiatives. On Monday, Business Insider broke the news of substantial job cuts to Microsoft’s Azure cloud division, with one source estimating as many as 1,500 positions being eliminated from the Azure for Operators (AFO) team.

Despite the cloud staffing reductions, Zander affirmed Microsoft’s commitment to developing quantum solutions. “Going forward we will accelerate the product roadmap and build up this next generation business, building on the foundation we established with Azure Quantum Elements and infrastructure components built in AFO,” he stated in the memo cited by BI.

Matt Swayne

With a several-decades long background in journalism and communications, Matt Swayne has worked as a science communicator for an R1 university for more than 12 years, specializing in translating high tech and deep tech for the general audience. He has served as a writer, editor and analyst at The Quantum Insider since its inception. In addition to his service as a science communicator, Matt also develops courses to improve the media and communications skills of scientists and has taught courses. [email protected]

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