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​​Today, Microsoft announced that KPMG is now an Azure Quantum Systems Integrator for Azure Quantum.  The organizations plan to collaborate to use quantum-inspired optimization (QIO) algorithms to identify new ways for Azure Quantum customers to leverage quantum algorithms and solve optimization challenges.

“KPMG professionals are working with Microsoft to explore the applications of quantum and quantum-inspired solutions, using Azure Quantum — the world’s first full-stack public cloud ecosystem for quantum solutions — to link business needs to technology capabilities,” Krysta Svore, general manager of Microsoft Quantum, told VentureBeat.

KPMG has a team dedicated to quantum-related technologies. The two companies expect that team to educate organizations on how to apply quantum-inspired optimization to business problems in industries including financial services, energy, and health care. (Quantum-inspired optimization refers to running quantum computing algorithms on classical hardware.)

What is Azure Quantum and how far off is quantum computing? 

Azure Quantum, is a solution that provides organizations and developers with remote access to quantum software and hardware, including a Microsoft Quantum Development Kit (QDK), that they can use to develop and run quantum computing programs on classical computing systems like GPU, CPU, and FPGA in the cloud.

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The solution enables organizations to access quantum computing solutions with immense processing power that can process data sets and computational problems much faster than a classical computer and solve previously unsolvable optimization challenges.

For instance, a finance organization can use quantum computing to simulate market trends, develop more sophisticated investment insights, and reduce risk in a way they couldn’t with the limited processing power of classical computing hardware.

“The Azure Quantum platform allows us to explore numerous different solver approaches utilizing the same code, helping to minimize re-work and improve efficiency. The shared goal for these initial projects is to build solution blueprints for common industry optimization problems using Azure Quantum, which we can then provide to more clients at scale,” said Bent Dalager, the global head of KPMG’s Quantum Hub.

While quantum computing has the potential to optimize business processes, many critics believe that the technology is a long way off from being able to help decision-makers solve problems that are unique to their businesses.

“Many believe that quantum computers are a decade away from being useful, but the reality is that technology that emulates quantum principles, classical “quantum-inspired” technology, is available today and has the potential to make a significant difference for certain industries,” Svore said.

“Microsoft customers are harnessing quantum computing technology, by building quantum solutions and running them on multiple quantum hardware systems with little to no change in code, or using quantum-inspired solutions deployed on classical hardware to fundamentally change how they solve their challenging problems today while preparing for scaled quantum computing of the future,” she added.

Building a quantum ecosystem 

Since its announcement at Ignite in 2019, Azure Quantum has emerged as one of the top cloud-based quantum computing solution providers, with organizations from Ford to Trimble and OTI Lumionics using the solution to build quantum-inspired optimization solutions that can do anything from finding the most efficient routes for fleet vehicles to financial modeling, and materials design.

As of 2021, researchers estimate that the value of the global quantum computing market will reach  $487.4 million in 2021 and reach $3728.4 million by 2030.

It’s also a key reason why the quantum computing industry is highly competitive, with tech giants like Google, Amazon, and IBM also competing for dominance in the space, each offering its own solutions for providing managed access to quantum resources, via Google Quantum AI, to IBM Quantum, and Amazon Braket.

This year, IBM Quantum announced IBM Quantum System Two at the 2021 IBM Quantum Summit, while Amazon announced the opening of the AWS Center for Quantum Computing in Pasadena, California, where the organization aims to build a fault-tolerant quantum computer.

While the quantum computing industry is competitive, Microsoft is aiming to differentiate Azure Quantum from competitors by building a full-stack quantum ecosystem. “We are focused on innovation at every layer of the quantum stack, from the applications and solutions to the cryogenic control down to the qubits themselves,” Svore explained.

“A critical aspect of this full-stack ecosystem is expertise in integrating and customizing new technologies for customer solutions. Our partnership with KPMG brings additional expertise to our ecosystem and will enable customers to realize quantum and quantum-inspired solutions more rapidly,” Svore concluded.

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