In a groundbreaking move, Microsoft has announced a strategic co-innovation partnership with Photonic Inc., a leading quantum technology business known for its scalable, fault-tolerant, and distributed quantum solutions. This collaboration aims to revolutionize quantum networking and fortify the quantum computing ecosystem by combining Microsoft's global scale and cutting-edge infrastructure with Photonic's distinctive approaches to scalable quantum infrastructure.
The primary objective is to seamlessly integrate quantum networking capabilities into everyday operating environments. By utilizing Photonic's ground-breaking spin-photon architecture, which supports quantum communication over conventional telecom wavelengths, this will be possible. Microsoft's Azure Quantum Elements, embedded with quantum computing devices, will play a pivotal role in advancing reliable quantum communication over extended distances.
Jason Zander, Microsoft Strategic Missions and Technologies EVP, expresses excitement about the collaboration, stating, "There is an opportunity to ignite new capabilities across the quantum ecosystem extending beyond computing, such as networking and sensing, and unlocking applications and scientific discovery at scale across chemistry, materials science, metrology, communications, and many other fields."
At the core of this partnership is the entanglement distribution across vast distances, a fundamental requirement for the envisioned quantum network. Photonic's spin-photon-interfaced silicon spin qubits, along with ultralow-loss telecom cables and wavelengths, make up the new architecture that lets quantum devices talk to each other. This technology, when integrated with Azure's global infrastructure, promises to add quantum networking capabilities to everyday operating settings.
The collaboration between Microsoft and Photonic will progress through three quantum networking stages:
Stage 1: Physical Layer: Using telecom fiber photons to entangle two quantum devices
Stage 2: Link Layer: Introducing a quantum repeater that captures, entangles, and holds quantum information reliably for a limited time.
Stage 3:Network Layer: Developing a fault-tolerant quantum repeater that works seamlessly with Azure, aiming to overcome network distance limits and enable a worldwide quantum internet.
Dr. Stephanie Simmons, Photonic's creator and CQO, emphasizes the need for a global ecosystem to realize quantum computing's full potential. She notes, "It will take a global ecosystem to unlock the full promise of quantum computing. No company or country can do it alone. That’s why we’re incredibly excited to be partnering with Microsoft to bring forth these new quantum capabilities."
The ultimate goal of this partnership is to design a fault-tolerant quantum supercomputing environment on Azure, akin to how the cloud democratized supercomputers. Microsoft's route to a Level 3 quantum supercomputer, announced in June, aligns with their commitment to pushing the boundaries of scientific discovery.
By adding Photonic's one-of-a-kind quantum hardware to Azure Quantum Elements, Microsoft hopes to give scientists a strong and expandable ecosystem that will support Level 1 research in quantum computing. The collaboration between Microsoft and Photonic is a testament to the transformative power of global collaboration and co-innovation in advancing quantum technologies. As the partnership unfolds, it holds the promise of accelerating scientific discoveries and propelling the quantum ecosystem into a new era of possibilities.