Microsoft adds Pasqal’s neutral-atom processors to its Azure Quantum cloud computing lineup

Alan Boyle


Microsoft adds Pasqal’s neutral-atom processors to its Azure Quantum cloud computing lineup

Microsoft’s Azure Quantum cloud computing service will be adding a brand-new tool to its toolbox: Pasqal’s neutral-atom quantum processing system.

When the French company’s system becomes available later this year, it will provide a method for processing data that’s different from the other methods offered through Azure Quantum.

“Running algorithms on Pasqal’s neutral-atom hardware opens the door to unique capabilities no other quantum system offers,” Pasqal CEO and founder Georges-Olivier Reymond said today in a news release.

Unlike the rigid one-or-zero approach of classical computing, quantum computing makes use of quantum bits, or qubits, that can essentially represent different states simultaneously until the results are read out.

Theoretically, the quantum approach should be able to solve certain types of problems, such as network optimization, much more quickly than the classical approach. The technology could open new frontiers in fields ranging from traffic planning to drug development to data encryption.

Azure Quantum — and other cloud-based services including Amazon Braket, IBM Quantum, D-Wave Leap and Google Quantum AI — are already experimenting with hybrid quantum algorithms and looking forward to the development of full-stack, general-purpose quantum computing systems.

The two main avenues for developing quantum hardware make use of superconducting circuits and ion traps. Pasqal takes a different approach, involving neutral atoms that are manipulated at room temperature with laser-powered optical “tweezers.”

The company has already come out with a line of neutral-atom processing hardware called Fresnel, and it’s aiming to deliver a 1,000-qubit quantum processor to market by the end of 2023.

Pasqal’s customers include Johnson & Johnson, LG, Airbus and BMW Group. In January, the company announced a merger with Qu&Co, a developer of quantum algorithms and software. (Qu&Co has been part of Amazon Braket’s quantum lineup.) More recently, Pasqal and Aramco said they’d join forces to develop quantum computing applications for the energy industry.

Krysta Svore, Microsoft’s vice president for quantum software, said Pasqal’s neutral-atom processors will be a “welcome addition” to the Azure Quantum ecosystem.

Pasqal should provide Azure Quantum’s users with “new computational possibilities, including analog quantum computation, opening up new avenues for pursuing real-world quantum impacts,” Svore said.

Pre-registration for early access to Pasqal’s quantum computers through Azure Quantum became available today. For more information about pre-registration, send email to [email protected].

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