On Monday, the Microsoft Azure Quantum service opened to the public, introducing
radically different computing technologies to the second-largest cloud computing service in the world.
The quantum computers built by Honeywell
and IonQ are included in Azure Quantum.
These devices use a design called an ion trap that uses electrically charged atoms
as qubits, the fundamental element of information storage and processing used by quantum computers.
In the future, Microsoft is preparing to incorporate another
Quantum Circuits concept whose qubits are supercooled electrical circuits.
Eventually, Microsoft would introduce to the
service its own homegrown quantum computers.
Its solution, known as topological qubits, promises qubits that are more robust than those
used in competing designs and are designed to allow longer running of quantum computations.
Microsoft hasn’t yet seen its technology,
however, unlike rival quantum computer manufacturers.
The introduction of Azure Quantum marks the latest step in quantum computing
commercialization, which aims to resolve issues beyond the scope of traditional machines.
Among those testing out quantum computers are BMW, Airbus and Roche, but
it will be years before it is practical for more than research projects.
“We need a large, scalable, reliable quantum computer,”
said Krysta Svore, general manager of Microsoft Quantum.
Still, there are several
commercial applications being tested.
BMW is seeing how well quantum computing will identify the right combination of
suppliers of auto parts and the optimum location of charging stations for electric vehicles.
For molecular engineering activities, such as developing new
chemical processes, drugs or materials, Quantum computing holds promise.
Svore hopes that quantum computing will discover a more effective form of carbon
fixation, a technique that could advance the efforts of Microsoft to tackle climate change.
Microsoft is also working to regulate thousands of qubits,
an important miniaturization phase, on a controller chip called Gooseberry.
Today’s computers have at most just a few hundred qubits, but
they’re going to need millions to solve real problems in quantum computing.
Intel has a competing quantum
controller chip called Horse Ridge.
Azure isn’t the only
quantum service focused on clouds.
Amazon, whose largest cloud network
is Amazon Web Services, runs Braket.
The Q network is powered by
Google, which operates the third-ranked Google Cloud.
For quantum computing, the services are crucial because few businesses have
the experience, hardware or budget to operate quantum computers on their own.
Smart thermostats do more than control the
heating and cooling system of your house.
If you’re on the sofa, at the grocery store or on holiday, these app-enabled smart home devices allow you to
change your thermostat from your phone — anywhere your phone or mobile device is connected to a Wi-Fi or cellular network.
Many smart thermostats now also work with Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri, giving you
yet another way to remotely control your smart home systems to change your settings.
Smart features such as a motion sensor are also used by some smart thermostat systems to decide whether you are home or
away and adjust the temperature automatically — both heating and cooling — for you, without having to fiddle with your HVAC system.
Others depend on a geo-fencing radius: once you get a certain distance from your home,
when you return, they automatically switch to off mode and then back to home mode.
Then there are features such as remote sensors, a power extender package, thermostats that work with existing infrastructures (in other words,
are Apple HomeKit compatible) and, of course, thermostats that calculate your energy consumption so that your home can be more energy-efficient.
Actually, a smart home thermostat is a smart system that saves
energy and is beneficial for both the climate and your pocket.