Microsoft today shared plans to release an open cloud quantum computing service in private preview. Microsoft open-sourced its Quantum Development Kit and Q# compilers and simulators for developers this summer. Partnerships with quantum hardware providers Honeywell, IonQ, or QCI will enable developers to use existing Microsoft products — like Visual Studio or the Quantum Development Kit — along with quantum computers.

The news follows recent breakthroughs in quantum computing from IBM Research and Google, who announced on October 23 that it achieved quantum supremacy with the 54-qubit Sycamore processor.

Quantum computing is based on quantum physics. Quantum computers run on quantum bits or qubits, and when qubits are maintained in a cold state they can scale high-performance computation in a way that’s hard to achieve today with traditional supercomputers.

IonQ uses an approach to quantum computing that focuses on trapping ions.

“IonQ brings a unique approach to quantum computing, with tremendous potential,” Microsoft quantum systems general manager Krysta Svore said in a statement shared with VentureBeat. “This partnership brings world-class quantum computing capabilities to Azure Quantum, and we’re excited to continue working together to realize the full benefits of quantum computers.”

Companies like Rigetti and D-Wave Systems, maker of quantum computers for Google and NASA, also offer quantum computing in the cloud. And IBM’s 53-qubit computer will be available in the cloud.

Microsoft plans to launch Azure Quantum in the coming months, the company said in a news release today ahead of the start of its Ignite conference in Orlando, Florida. Also announced today: a meeting scheduler and voice email briefings from AI assistant Cortana and upgrades for Windows 10, Microsoft 365, and other Microsoft products and services.

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