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Microsoft Unveils Quantum Computing Roadmap with New Offerings to Accelerate Materials R&D

Ryan Lenett

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Microsoft Corp. has laid out its roadmap for building a proprietary quantum supercomputer, with a projected timeline of under ten years, utilizing topological qubits—a focus of the company’s researchers for several years. The aim is to construct a quantum supercomputer capable of executing one million reliable quantum operations per second, an innovative measurement as the industry strives to surpass the era of noisy intermediate-scale quantum (NISQ) computing. “We think about our roadmap and the time to the quantum supercomputer in terms of years rather than decades,” commented Krysta Svore, Microsoft’s VP of advanced quantum development. In a breakthrough last year, Microsoft disclosed its capability to develop Majorana-based qubits, which offer stability superior to traditional techniques. Although challenging to generate, Microsoft’s early investment in this technology seems to be paying off, with a new peer-reviewed paper published in the American Physical Society’s Physical Review B confirming the company’s success in this initial step towards a quantum supercomputer.

From Foundational to Resilient Level

Svore notes that the current quantum machines, though noisy and intermediate in scale, are built around physical qubits but lack the reliability to have practical application in scientific or commercial industries. The next industry goal, she believes, is to achieve a resilient level of operations, integrating physical qubits into an error-correcting code and enabling them to function as a logical qubit. “We need to be able to operate not just with physical qubits but we need to take those physical qubits and put them into an error-correcting code and use them as a unit to serve as a logical qubit,” Svore argues. This step will require a quantum computer capable of performing one million reliable quantum operations per second, with a failure rate of one per trillion operations.

The Path Forward: Hardware-protected Qubits and Multiqubit Systems

The subsequent milestone on Microsoft’s roadmap is the creation of hardware-protected qubits. The team, Svore affirms, is making significant progress towards building these qubits, which will be small—less than 10 microns on a side—and capable of performing one qubit operation in less than a microsecond. Following this, the team intends to focus on entangling these qubits and operating them through a process known as braiding, a theoretical concept since the early 2000s. After these steps, the plan is to construct a smaller multiqubit system and demonstrate a full quantum system. The ambitious roadmap will undoubtedly face stiff competition from IBM, IonQ and others, as the race is on to transcend the NISQ era.

Azure Quantum Elements and Copilot for Azure Quantum

Simultaneously, Microsoft has launched Azure Quantum Elements, a platform designed to expedite scientific discoveries by integrating high-performance computing, AI, and quantum. This platform, alongside Copilot for Azure Quantum—an AI model specifically trained to assist scientists and students in generating quantum-related calculations and simulations—marks a new era in scientific research and discovery.

Accelerating Research and Development in the Chemical Sector

Microsoft’s Azure Quantum Elements is a newly introduced computing service, which aims to expedite the research and development of novel materials in the chemical industry. By leveraging computing power, chemical companies can simulate a plethora of atom combinations, enabling them to virtually explore potential new materials and predict their interactions with the real world. This groundbreaking service harnesses a mix of existing quantum computers, AI, and conventional high-performance computing systems. Microsoft reports that some early customers, including BASF, customers, including BASF, AkzoNobel, AspenTech, Johnson Matthey, SCGC and 1910 Genetics, have successfully tested the system, with some experiencing acceleration in their development processes by up to six months. “Our goal is to compress the next 250 years of chemistry and materials science progress into the next 25,” Microsoft Chief Executive Satya Nadella remarked in a press announcement.

Reimagining Scientific Research with AI

As part of this initiative, Microsoft is also launching a version of Copilot—a groundbreaking artificial intelligence system that aids software developers in writing code—tailored specifically for scientists. This specialized model will assist researchers in conducting quantum-related calculations and simulations, hence expediting their projects.

Noteworthy Progress in Quantum Computing

Microsoft has also made considerable strides in the development of its own quantum computer, announcing a milestone in its ability to create and control a quantum particle known as a Majorana fermion. While details are sparse ahead of its announcement, the company is preparing to publish a scientific paper documenting this achievement.

Conclusion

As the quantum computing arms race intensifies, Microsoft’s ambitious roadmap and the launch of new products indicate its commitment to leading the charge. With a vision of building a quantum supercomputer in under a decade and accelerating progress in chemistry and materials science, the tech giant is harnessing the power of quantum computing, artificial intelligence, and high-performance computing systems to shape the future of research and industry. The details of Microsoft’s achievements and plans in the realm of quantum computing can be found in their latest press release. As Microsoft continues to make strides, the world eagerly waits for the next milestone in quantum computing, which holds immense potential to revolutionize numerous industries.

Ryan is a car enthusiast and an accomplished team builder passionate about crafting captivating narratives. Known for his ability to transport readers to other worlds, his writing has garnered attention and a dedicated following. With a keen eye for detail and a gift for storytelling, Ryan continues to weave literary magic in every word he writes.

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Google Adds Gemini AI Features to Gmail and Workspace Apps

Jonas Muthoni

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Google has updated its Workspace apps, such as Gmail, with new AI based features from the Gemini brand. These adjustments aim to make managing emails, documents and data more effective using sophisticated AI models like Gemini 1.5 Pro.

Gemini AI Sidebar in Gmail

A new Gemini side panel is being brought by Google on the web that can compress email threads and draft new emails. It offers “proactive prompts,” but it also allows users to ask “free form questions,” as stated in a Google blog post. The AI features are developed using Google’s top quality models.

Main features of Gmail’s Gemini sidebar,

  • Email thread breakup
  • Email thread response suggestions
  • New email drafting help
  • Solving queries about emails from inbox or Google Drive files

Gmail’s mobile apps are also getting these functionalities which allow users to use Gemini for condensing threads. However, access to these features is limited only to paying subscribers, including customers of specific Google Workspace addons and Google One AI Premium subscribers.

Gemini AI in Other Google Workspace Apps

Google extends the use of Gemini features beyond Gmail into other Workspace utilities like Docs, Sheets, Slides and Drive. The company revealed these updates during its I/O 2024 event. They are now accessible for users.

Functionality across various Workspace utilities,

  • Docs: Gemini can aid with content writing and refining, information summarising, brainstorming and generating content based on other files.
  • Slides: Gemini has capabilities of creating . new slides, custom pictures and condensing presentations.
  • Sheets: In Sheets, he helps in tracking and managing data,
  • Drive: Using Gemini one can get summaries of single or multiple documents, get easy to understand details about a project

To use these features on the web, users can click on the “Ask Gemini” icon that looks like a sparkle next to their profile picture at the top right corner. The click will launch an assistive experience in the same tab offering suggested queries and automatic summaries.

Preemptive and Assistive AI Features

The introduction of the Gemini AI sidebar by Google aims to make Workspace apps easier to use and more efficient. Proactive help in managing data and projects is also included amongst these AI abilities along with drafting and summarization capabilities.

Noteworthy features,

  • Automatic shortening of ongoing work
  • Preemptive prompts for productivity improvement
  • Sophisticated reasoning and extended context window given by Gemini 1.5 Pro

Users are recommended to review AIgenerated content because sometimes inaccurate info may get generated by these advanced systems. Such care is especially needed while writing essential emails or documents.

Pricing Plans and Availability

The rollout of Google’s new side panel called Gemini along with its features will happen across several subscription plans, including,

  • Google One AI Premium
  • Addon for Business and Enterprise by Gemini
  • Gemini Education addon as well as Education Premium addon

All these features will be fully deployed by Google in coming weeks. The aim behind using these AI tools is improving the efficiency of users across varied platforms, both web based as well as mobile.

In summary

The addition of new Gemini AI features represents considerable advancement in terms of integrating state of the art AI functionality into tools that are being used by millions every day. Google strives to offer a more productive and smooth user experience through these enhancements in Gmail and other workspace apps. These powerful tools come with a caution suggesting users to confirm the correctness of the content generated by this AI.

Given AI technology’s continuous advancement, it can be said that the Gemini features offered by Google stand at the cutting edge of AI supported productivity, showing promise to redefine how users interact within their digital workspaces.

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Microsoft Unveils Affordable Copilot+ AI PCs

Ashley Waithira

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June 18, 2024, was a crucial day for Microsoft and Windows 11 users as Microsoft presented its new range ofilot+ AI PCs. With Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X processors, these computers will bring hightech AI capabilities straight into people’s homes.

Cheapest Copilot+ PC, Surface Laptop 7

The most affordable new Copilot+ AI PC is surprisingly from Microsoft. The Surface Laptop 7 costs $999.99, currently the lowest price for a Copilot+ PC. This modern laptop has a Snapdragon X Plus processor, 16GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD with a clear display of 2304 x 1536 resolution at a rate of 120 Hz refresh and brightness as high as 600 nits.

  • Price tag, $999.99
  • CPU, Snapdragon X Plus
  • RAM Size, 16GB
  • Data Storage Size, An adaptable 256GB SSD
  • Screen Details, A crisp display with dimensions of –13.8 inches at resolution levels of –2304 x1536 pixels along with the refresh speed of –120Hz.

The impressive range of features on the Surface Laptop makes it an excellent choice for those wanting to try out new Copilot+ AI abilities. Unlike its counterparts like Surface Pro11 which need an extra buy for the keyboard , this variant has an inbuilt one, increasing its appeal.

Specifications and Efficiency

The new Copilot+ PCs by Microsoft come loaded with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X series processors, recognized for their superb AI processing abilities. The advanced features of Copilot+ include ,

  • Cocreator, A tool built into Windows Paint that converts text to imagery.
  • Windows Studio Effects, Tools that improve webcam visuals such as auto framing and background blur of video calls.
  • Live Captions with Translation, Video content can be transcribed and translated in real time.
  • Recall, This feature records all activities on the device (it has been suspended over privacy worries) .

Preliminary performance tests have shown pleasing outcomes. Using the Handbrake application, the Surface Laptop 7 with the Snapdragon X Plus processor managed transcoding tasks well outshining some of Intel’s freshest products.

User Feedback and Market Response

This introduction of Copilot+ PC’s has gotten tech enthusiasts talking, they are seen as a huge step for Windows’ ARM platform providing longer battery lives and high tech AI capacities. But not without a few challenges on its way.

  • Compatibility Problems, Issues were faced by certain applications especially those that need specific AI models.
  • A weak spot in Battery Testing , There were inconsistencies during different battery tests , indicating software refinement problems .
  • Inconsistent Geekbench ML Ratings, Mixed results were found when comparing Snapdragon X Elite’s performance in machine learning ratings against Intel’s Hardware.

Apart from these challenges there is positive outlook overall for this product line. Microsoft’s ambitious move into the AI PC sector could have a strong influence on future computer sales.

What the Future Holds

Gazing forward, Microsoft’s aim is to sell over 50 million AI PCs in the next year. This lofty goal is driven by the growing need for AI technology. The market for AI PCs will grow swiftly as more users experience the benefits of AI features on their personal computers .

  • Upcoming Upgrades, Later this year , launches by Intel and AMD of their own AIenabled processors are expected , marking potential competition.
  • New Possibilities with AI Technology , Ongoing enhancements in AI technology will further enrich the array of applications and additional benefits, boosting capabilities of these computers. .
  • Data Privacy, Addressing data confidentiality problems when using AI enabled functions like Recall is vital to retain user confidence.

In Summary

The launch of Copilot+ AI PCs by Microsoft signifies a major innovation in integrating Artificial Intelligence into personal computers. These state of the art devices with competitive pricing and backed by Qualcomm’s high powered processors are set to transform the industry. As technological advancements continue, users can look forward to an even broader range of practical applications to improve their digital experiences.

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PS-5 and Xbox Series X/S Upgrades Better Gaming Experience

Ryan Lenett

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Sony released a new update for the PS 5 that enables users to use Discord voice chats directly from their console. This feature bypasses the need to start a call from a computer or mobile phone. Simplifying things for gamer who chat with friends on Discord while playing.

PS 5’s Straightforward Discord Integration

  • The update will be phased in gradually, starting in Japan/Asia, then Europe, Australia/New Zealand, Middle East, and lastly the Americas.
  • Users should update their PS 5 system software and link both their Play Station Network and Discord accounts to use this feature.
  • To enter a Discord voice chat on PS5 you must approach it via the Control Center’s Game Base just select your preferred voice channel from there.

This upgrade is a notable step forward compared to before where players had to transfer calls to their PS 5 using another device. Sony’s tie up with Discord highlights its focus on refining the social side of gaming.

Other New Features on PS 5

The recent update also introduces more new features apart from integrating Discord,

  • Now child accounts can add links to third party services as well as apps which improves their gaming experience with services like Apple Music, Spotify and YouTube.
  • New tools give parents control over child account links with third party venues.
  • Better system software performance and stability are assured now.
  • PULSE Elite wireless headset, PULSE Explore wireless earbuds, Play Station Link USB adapter are all updated to improve their connections and usability.

Updates for Xbox Series X/S

Microsoft also launched updates for the Xbox Series X/S. These upgrades focus on animated backgrounds, WiFi connectivity and cloud gaming enhancements.

  • An upgraded dynamic back grounds now let each game’s art engulf the background when users flick over it.
  • Users can hold up to 10 WiFi connections which makes changing locations quicker due to familiar network settings.
  • Managing subscriptions directly from a settings menu is now possible which gives better control over services such as Game Pass.
  • Increased support for mouse and keyboard in cloud gaming as well as simplified cloud save management thanks to new features.

The updates reflect Microsoft‘s dedication to refining the user experience. And making Xbox Series X/S more versatile and user friendly devices.

Gaming Console User Experiences Going Up

Sony and Microsoft‘s updates point to a silent console face off aimed at making gaming more rewarding. Sony’s PS5 upgrade especially with direct Discord access suits gamer who use the communication platform extensively. On the other hand, Xbox users’ feedback on dynamic backgrounds, WiFi connectivity, and cloud gaming drove Microsoft’s upgrades.

Incorporating fresh features alongside polishing existing ones enables both companies to continually refine the gaming experience. This aligns with broader industry trends where players’ experience becomes integral to tech development.

To Conclude

Sony and Microsoft continue updating their PS 5 and Xbox Series X/S consoles experimentally adding features like Direct Discord integration, advanced active backdrops, better system performance etc. For gamer this means they can anticipate smoother game play experiences. These rolling updates strengthen both functional aspects as well as social interaction for players enabling them more facility in playing and enjoying their favourite games.

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