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Microsoft bets big on quantum computers

Todd Holmdahl
Microsoft executive Todd Holmdahl is leading the effort to create scalable quantum hardware and software. (Red Box Pictures via Microsoft / Scott Eklund)

Microsoft says it’s moving ahead from just talking about quantum computing to building an actual quantum computer, based on the physics that won a Nobel Prize this year.

The project will be headed by longtime Microsoft executive Todd Holmdahl, who previously played key roles in developing the Xbox gaming console, the Kinect motion sensor and the HoloLens augmented-reality system. Now he’s corporate vice president of Microsoft’s quantum program.

“I think we’re at an inflection point in which we are ready to go from research to engineering,” Holmdahl said in a Microsoft blog posting about the project on Nov. 20.

Microsoft isn’t alone in the field: For several years, Google has been working with NASA and a Vancouver-area company called D-Wave to evaluate quantum computer designs.

But neither is Microsoft a newcomer in the field: The Redmond-based software giant has had researchers exploring the quantum frontier for more than 15 years.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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