At its Ignite conference today, Microsoft announced its moves to embrace the next big thing in computing: quantum computing. Later this year, Microsoft will release a new quantum computing programming language, with full Visual Studio integration, along with a quantum computing simulator. With these, developers will be able to both develop and debug quantum programs implementing quantum algorithms.This is ridiculous. No one will ever have any legitimate use for this.
This ability for qubits to represent multiple values gives quantum computers exponentially more computing power than traditional computers.Scott Aaronson likes to say that this is wrong. Of course I say that there will never be a quantum speedup.
It will have quite significant memory requirements. The local version will offer up to 32 qubits, but to do this will require 32GB of RAM. Each additional qubit doubles the amount of memory required. The Azure version will scale up to 40 qubits.Wow, that is a lot of memory for a simulator.
Longer term, of course, the ambition is to run on a real quantum computer. Microsoft doesn't have one, yet, but it's working on one.
One awkward spectre is what happens if someone does manage to build a large quantum computer. Certain kinds of encryption gain their security from the fact that integer factorization ... but if the technology were developed to build quantum computers with a few thousand qubits, these encryption algorithms would become extremely vulnerable. ... That quantum computing future is, fortunately, still likely to be many years off.That's right, we are fortunate that no one has a quantum computer. It would only cause harm, for the foreseeable future.