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Microsoft had announced Azure Quantum in December 2019. (File Photo: REUTERS/Mike Blake)
Microsoft had announced Azure Quantum in December 2019. (File Photo: REUTERS/Mike Blake)

Microsoft to impart quantum computing skills to 900 ICT teachers across India

  • In February, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced the National Mission on Quantum Technologies & Applications (NM-QTA) with a budget outlay of 8,000 crore to be implemented by Department of Science & Technology

NEW DELHI: Microsoft has started training 900 faculty members from top Indian institutes in quantum computing skills and capabilities among the wider academic community. Training will be provided virtually from 24-29 August and will cover basics of quantum computing including superposition and entanglement, processing of information using qubits and quantum gates, and quantum machine learning and programming.

The training programme will also offer coding classes using Microsoft Q# and Quantum Development Kit.

The programme is being organised in collaboration with Electronics and ICT Academies at Malaviya National Institute of Technology (MNIT) of Jaipur and National Institute of Technology of Patna. It is being offered in support of the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY) initiative to help teachers learn next level technological skills which they can teach to future generations.

"Quantum computing holds the potential to solve some of the most pressing issues our world faces today. Through this program, we aim to equip academia in India with the requisite knowledge to develop a comprehensive quantum learning curriculum in their institutions and help develop these skills among some of the brightest minds in the country," Reena Dayal, director, Microsoft Garage India & Chair for IEEE Quantum SIG, said in a statement.

In February, while delivering the union budget, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced the National Mission on Quantum Technologies & Applications (NM-QTA) with an outlay of 8,000 crore to be implemented by the Department of Science & Technology (DST).

Unlike modern computing, where a sequence of bits (binary digits used as fundamental unit of computing) can exist in a state of either 0 or 1, in quantum computing, the qubits (quantum version of bits used by quantum computers) can be both 0 and 1 simultaneously. This process is known as superposition and it allows quantum computers to solve problems which are beyond the capabilities of a modern day computer.

Last year, Google achieved Quantum Supremacy by completing an experimental calculation in 200 seconds, which, as per Google's estimates, would have taken the world’s fastest supercomputer 10,000 years to calculate.

Not the one to be left behind, Microsoft had announced Azure Quantum in December 2019. It is a cloud-based platform that will allow developers to access quantum software, hardware, and solutions from Microsoft and its partners remotely.

Though experts believe that use of quantum computing for space research, asteroid mapping and weather prediction is still 5 to 10 years away, taking quantum skills to a wider demographic of academics and students will accelerate research and lead to early implementation.

"Through this initiative in India, we aim to develop skills in quantum at scale, which has the potential to trigger the new frontier of innovation, shaping the future of the IT industry in this part of the world," said Rajiv Kumar, MD, Microsoft India Development Center, and Corporate VP, Enterprise+Devices India.

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