Quantum Computing

Microsoft Announces Azure Quantum Elements — New Azure Services Bringing Together the Latest Cloud Innovations to Accelerate Scientific Discovery


Insider Summary:

  • Microsoft announced in a blog post new advancements for Azure Quantum aimed at accelerating scientific discovery with Azure Quantum Elements, which accelerate scientific discovery by integrating the latest breakthroughs in high performance computing (HPC), artificial intelligence, and quantum computing.
  • Using this comprehensive system, researchers can make advances in chemistry and materials science with unprecedented scale, speed and accuracy.
  • Industry innovators, including BASF, AkzoNobel, AspenTech, Johnson Matthey, SCGC, and 1910 Genetics have adopted Azure Quantum Elements to transform their research and development, and now others can join them as well.

MICROSOFT BLOG POST — June 21, 2023/by Jason Zander, Executive Vice President, Strategic Mission and Technology, Microsoft — Microsoft announced new advancements to Azure Quantum aimed at accelerating scientific discovery.

From the Iron Age that revolutionized agriculture to the Silicon Age that revolutionized the way we communicate, new materials always create an inflection point for societal progress. Progress in this space will be transformative. For example, the transportation industry could develop more efficient and powerful batteries. Pharmaceutical researchers can develop new drugs. The chemical industry will be able to find safer and more sustainable compounds for the products we use every day, such as electronics, paints and textiles. And most importantly, scientists will be able to solve society’s most pressing challenges such as reversing climate change and tackling food insecurity.

However, understanding nature is not an easy task. For accurate calculations of the quantum states of the most complex molecules, the number of energy states of just 100 electrons can exceed the number of atoms in the visible universe.

Now, with a new generation of AI, the world’s most advanced AI model comes together with our universal user interface — natural language — and nature’s foundational language — chemistry — ushering in a new era of scientific discovery. And that’s just the first step as we prepare for the even bigger transformation ahead of us: the super quantum computer.

Innovators can start experimenting with the world’s best quantum hardware in Azure Quantum and get ready to solve more complex problems when quantum supercomputers become a reality. We are rapidly approaching the time when scientists and businesses will be able to solve previously intractable problems to unlock human growth and progress.

Today, we’re introducing three advancements within Azure Quantum towards this vision.

1. Azure Quantum Element

Azure Quantum Element accelerate scientific discovery by integrating the latest breakthroughs in high performance computing (HPC), artificial intelligence, and quantum computing.

With Azure Quantum Elements, scientists and product developers can:

  • Reduce time to impact and costs by accelerating R&D pipelines and bringing innovative products to market faster, with some customers seeing a six month to one week accelerate from project start to solution.
  • Dramatically increase the search space for new materials, with the potential to scale from thousands of candidates to tens of millions.
  • Speed ​​up certain chemistry simulations by up to 500,000 times, like compressing a year into a minute.
  • Prepare for scalable quantum computing by solving today’s quantum chemistry problems with AI and HPC, while experimenting with existing quantum hardware and getting priority access to future Microsoft quantum supercomputers.

Using this comprehensive system, researchers can make advances in chemistry and materials science with unprecedented scale, speed and accuracy.

Scale. Scientists can understand the complex reactions required to manufacture a product, discover new candidates and optimize the entire process. For example, scientists can now use Azure Quantum Elements to explore 1.5 million potential configurations in complex reactions consisting of 50,000 basic steps. Early adopters are already using this massive scale to find more sustainable substitutes for use in many everyday products, or entirely new products for innovative scenarios.

Speed. Azure Quantum Elements speeds up simulation by incorporating Microsoft’s custom AI models for chemistry, which we train on millions of chemical and materials data points. We’re basing this model on the same groundbreaking technology you’ve seen elsewhere with generative AI. While Copilot understood human language, the Azure Quantum Elements also understood natural language—chemistry.

Accuracy. Today, scientists are using unique AI models and HPC scales to run simulations with unprecedented levels of accuracy. Azure Quantum Elements also integrates classical and quantum computing to provide higher simulation accuracy. In the future, scientists believe quantum supercomputers will enable predictive chemical design with 100X accuracy.

Industry innovators, incl BASF, AkzoNobel, AspenTech, Johnson MattheySCGCAnd 1910 Genetics have adopted Azure Quantum Elements to transform their research and development, and today, others can join them. Azure Quantum Elements will be available in private preview in a few weeks, and you can register today to learn more.

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2. Co-pilot on Azure Quantum

Copilot in Azure Quantum helps scientists use natural language to reason through complex chemistry and materials science problems.

With Copilot in Azure Quantum, a scientist can complete complex tasks atop a network of cloud, advanced AI, and quantum supercomputers, all integrated with the tools they use today. It can generate underlying calculations and simulations, query and visualize data and help get guided answers to complex concepts. Just as Copilot on other Microsoft products is transforming software development, productivity, and search, our ambition is for Copilot on Azure Quantum to transform and accelerate scientific discovery — whether that’s creating safer and more sustainable products, accelerating drug discovery, or solving new challenges. most urgent on the planet.

Co-pilots also help people learn about quantum computing and write code for today’s quantum computers. It provides a fully integrated, browser-based experience available to try for free with a built-in code editor, quantum simulator, and seamless code compilation. We designed it to make complexes more manageable and help anyone explore quantum, chemistry, and materials science while bringing these transformational fields closer together. See today.

3. Microsoft’s roadmap to quantum supercomputers

The final unlock will come when organizations can accurately design new chemicals and materials with quantum supercomputers. Our industry will follow the same path that classical supercomputers did in the 20th century. From vacuum tubes, to transistors, to integrated circuits, advances in basic technology will enable scale and impact.

As we make progress as an industry, quantum hardware will fall into one of three categories Level of Implementation of Quantum Computing:

  • Level 1 — Basic: Quantum Ssystems running on noisy physical qubits, which includes all current Noisy Intermediate Scale Quantum (NISQ) computers.
  • Level 2 — Tough: Quantum systems operating on reliable logical qubits.
  • Level 3 — Scale: A quantum supercomputer that can solve impactful problems that not even the most powerful supercomputers can.

Getting to Scale required a fundamental physics breakthrough. Microsoft has achieved this breakthrough and today delivers peer reviewed data in a journal by the American Physical Society.

This means that Microsoft has reached its first milestone towards a quantum supercomputer. We can now create and control the Majorana quasiparticles. With this milestone, we are well on our way to engineering new, hardware-protected qubits. With it, we can then reliably engineer logical qubits to reach Resilience Levels and then progress to Scale.

Quantum supercomputers will be able to solve problems that are difficult to solve on classical computers and scale to solve the most complex problems facing our world. To do this, it has to be performing and reliable. Customers need to understand how capable a quantum system is of solving real problems, from machines to network overhead. That’s why measuring supercomputers can’t be about computing physical or logical qubits.

To understand supercomputer performance, our industry needs new measurements. For that, we offer metrics from Reliable Quantum Operations Per Second (rQOPS)., which measures how many operations can reliably be executed in one second. It considers full system performance, not just qubit performance, so there’s a guarantee that the algorithm will run correctly.

Our industry hasn’t moved on from the NISQ era and because of that, today’s quantum computers are all Level 1 with zero rQOPS. The first quantum supercomputers will need at least 1 million rQOPS and will scale to more than 1 billion to solve impactful chemistry and materials science problems.

Accelerate scientific discovery together

With the advent of any innovative technology, there are risks that need to be planned for and mitigated. Microsoft’s AI principles guide us and this basic principles applies to quantum as well. As we develop new services such as Azure Quantum Elements and engineer our first quantum supercomputer, we will implement additional steps to incorporate feedback throughout the process.

We are also preparing now for a a quantum-safe future. Microsoft has a comprehensive plan to ensure all of our services remain secure and is partnering with our customers and the industry to support this important transition.

The opportunities in front of us are enormous. Scientists and businesses will revolutionize the building blocks of everyday products to usher in a new era of innovation and economic growth. Together, we can compress 250 years of chemistry and materials science into the next 25 years.

Please join Satya Nadella and me today at the virtual briefing Accelerating Scientific Discoveries 8am PT or catch later on request. We will share more about Azure Quantum Elements personal preview, Co-pilot on Azure Quantumand U.S roadmap to quantum supercomputers.

Featured image: Microsoft


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