Oct 1, 2017

Microsoft’s new coding language is made for quantum computers

Posted by in categories: quantum physics, supercomputing

When one of the first personal computers, the Altair 8800 came along in 1976, Microsoft was ready with a programming language, Altair BASIC. It wants to be equally prepared when quantum computers go mainstream, so it has unveiled a new programming language and other tools for the futuristic tech at its Ignite conference. You’ll still need to understand Qubits and other weird concepts, but by integrating traditional languages like C# and Python, Microsoft will make it easier to do mainstream computing on the complex machines.

Quantum computing is famously difficult to grasp — even IBM’s “Beginner’s Guide” is laughingly opaque. In discussing Microsoft’s new initiatives, Bill Gates called the physics “hieroglyphics,” and when asked if he could describe it in one sentence, Satya Nadella said “I don’t think so. I wish I could.”

So, let’s just talk about what it can do, then. By taking advantage of the principles of superposition and entanglement, quantum computers can solve certain types of problems exponentially faster than the best supercomputers. “It would allow scientists to do computations in minutes or hours that would take the lifetime of the universe on even the most advanced classical computers,” Microsoft explains. “That, in turn, would mean that people could find answers to scientific questions previously thought unanswerable.”

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