Microsoft CEO Satya Narayana Nadella, whose company is launching quantum computing training for 900 Indian lecturers

Microsoft CEO Satya Narayana Nadella. Source: AFP

Microsoft is sowing the seeds for India’s quantum computing future

  • Microsoft has unveiled a new quantum computing program to train 900 academics from various Indian universities
  • The ‘Train the Trainer’ program aims is to equip the faculty to embrace quantum in the classroom

Earlier this week, tech leader Microsoft announced the launch of a new program to foster the building of quantum computing skills and techniques amongst the Indian academic community. Part of the program will be the ‘Train the Trainer’ initiative, to teach nearly a thousand faculty members from top IT universities how to leverage quantum computing skills.

“This program will train 900 faculty from Universities and Institutes across India through E & ICT Academies at Institutes of National Importance such as IIT Kanpur, IIT Guwahati, IIT Roorkee, MNIT Jaipur, NIT Patna, IIIT-D Jabalpur, and NIT Warangal, equipping academics with the required skills to start building their quantum future,” Microsoft said in a statement.

The unique program is part of an overall quantum training initiative that Microsoft is enabling through India’s electronics and information technology academies, and is a component of the overall goal to ensure future generations of IT learners are equipped with the next level of technological skills.

Quantum computing applies the properties of quantum physics to the processing of information, in a manner similar to regular computational processes but certain algorithms could take lesser time to be crunched on quantum computers. The capabilities of quantum computers will empower the creation of new discoveries in the areas of healthcare, energy, environmental systems, smart materials manufacture, and more.

Quantum computing is still far off from uptake in business, but the technology has proven integral in providing enterprises with additional processing muscle, such as allowing automaker Volkwagen to optimize its automated traffic management system using quantum processing, and should come in handy for smart city planners who need to process massive sums of data.

“Keep in mind that quantum computing is still in an early stage, similar to the computers of the 1950s. Now is the time for the industry to explore what quantum computers can do and how to use them,” IBM’s Research VP (IBM Q Strategy and Ecosystem) Bob Sutor told Tech Wire Asia.

Microsoft’s commitment to bring Indian educators up to speed on the potential of quantum computing is mirrored by the commitment of Australia’s government agency for scientific research CSIRO, which laid out a comprehensive quantum computing plan for the country earlier this year. In that roadmap, CSIRO outlined how the Australian quantum computing technology trade could generate US$4 billion dollars per year, as well as create over 16,000 jobs by 2040.

Key themes that will be covered by Microsoft’s program in India include an introduction to quantum information, quantum concepts such as superposition and entanglement, processing of information using qubits and quantum gates, along with an introduction to quantum machine learning and quantum programming.