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Microsoft is Building a Quantum Computer That May Never Work

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Microsoft is working on a quantum computer that uses what are called “non-abelian anyons,” a quasiparticle that physicists aren’t sure even exist. Quantum computers promise to perform calculations at unfathomably faster rathes than today’s computers. Although other companies are using more realistic, proven materials in their work to create the machine, Microsoft is hopeful that its unique approach will pay dividends as the resultant machine should be less susceptible to external interference. The company has nearly 40 people working on the project, as quantum computing is seen as well worth investing in.

“The upside is enormous and there is practically no downside,” Alex Bocharov, a computer scientist at Microsoft Research working on quantum computing, told Scientific American in an article published Sunday. “Microsoft is a very affluent company; it sits on something like US$100 billion in cash. So what else one would you invest in? Bill Gates is also investing in other things—to eradicate malaria and HIV that might require quantum computing at some point.”

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