When a Big Four consultancy firm pairs up with a computing legend to solve problems, great things are bound to happen. In this case, quantum-inspired optimization is being leveraged to solve common business problems in the cloud. No longer the stuff of academic discussion and research, quantum computing is beginning to have real-world impact on the way we do business, with a number of firms seeking to take advantage of the benefits of the still cutting-edge computing technology.
Given the sheer complexity and expense of quantum computing, it’s no surprise that KPMG and Microsoft are working together to further develop the technology, hosted in Microsoft’s Azure cloud service. Dubbed the Azure Quantum Cloud Service, the new initiative claims to provide a full-stack, public cloud for quantum computing that enables firms like KPMG to test quantum computing optimization tools used in solving business challenges. Initial work will be focused on benchmarking solutions for financial services optimization and telecommunication fleet optimization, with hoped-for results due in the coming months.
According to a blog post by Microsoft, "Emulating these quantum effects on classical computers has led to the development of quantum-inspired optimization (QIO) algorithms that run on classical hardware… These algorithms allow researchers, developers, and solution providers to benefit from quantum approaches on classical hardware today, providing a speed-up over traditional approaches."
The partnership is one of a number of recent quantum-focused joint ventures, with over 240 companies having attracted $8.5 billion in investments. Businesses such as Amazon, IBM, Google, IonQ, Raytheon, and Accenture are also working to develop quantum resources in a race to bring new technologies to market. Thus far, said race has resulted in accelerated development of quantum processors, with IBM releasing its 127-qubit Eagle processor in December, surpassing Google’s 72-qubit quantum computer.
As quantum computing continues to grow and develop, businesses looking to put themselves at the forefront of leveraging technology to solve problems would do well to pay attention to the goings-on in the world of quantum programming and processing. With numerous companies actively working to develop the technology into tangible, usable products, the stage is clearly set for a renaissance in the way we think about and use computers.