- Microsoft will collaborate with Rambus on memory systems for next-generation quantum computing.
- Existing computer architectures are reaching limits due to the ever increasing demands of real-time data consumption.
- Top tech companies consider quantum computers as a strategic technology and are investing in quantum supercomputing developments.
Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) will collaborate with Rambus (NASDAQ:RMBS) on memory systems for next-generation quantum computing. The promising but largely untested technology is slowly gaining traction as current computing architectures run out of steam, reports the High Performance Computing industry newsletter HPC Wire.
The partnership, first announced by Rambus in December, will strive to combine the expertise of Rambus in high-bandwidth, power-efficient memory architectures, with Microsoft researchers’ knowledge of advanced system and data centers. The two companies will examine potential architectures that can significantly enhance memory capabilities in various scenarios and improve overall system performance.
Rambus, incorporated in 1990 and listed on NASDAQ since 1997, is a technology company that develops chips and related software for applications such as computer memories and interfaces, security, and smart sensors. Rambus operates through collaborations and intellectual property licensing to major hardware and software makers.
According to the company's website, Rambus products are integrated into tens of billions of devices and systems, powering and securing diverse applications, including Big Data, Internet of Things (IoT), mobile, consumer and media platforms. The company has a long history of researching and exploring emerging technologies and applications thereof.
"Existing computer architectures are reaching limits due to the ever increasing demands of real-time data consumption, which is driving the need to explore new high-performance, energy-efficient computer systems," said Gary Bronner, vice president of Rambus Labs. "By working with Microsoft on this project, we can leverage our vast expertise in memory systems to identify new architectural models."
"We've been investing in projects that advance our understanding of quantum computing along with its applications and implementation," said Douglas Carmean, Architect, Quantum Architectures and Computation Microsoft Research. "We are focusing on exploring theoretical and experimental approaches to creating quantum computers, designing software, hardware and other elements that support our research and direction. In this process, we are engaging with partners that have critical expertise, such as Rambus, to build new types of computing platforms."
Experts believe that future quantum computers based on subtle features of fundamental quantum physics will outperform today's most powerful supercomputers in critical applications in a wide range of sectors including aerospace, biosciences, pharmaceutics, new materials, Big Data analysis, and national security. Therefore, top tech companies including Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), IBM (NYSE:IBM), Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) and Alphabet Inc-A (NASDAQ:GOOGL) consider quantum computers as a strategic technology and are investing in quantum supercomputing developments. The private company D-Wave Systems, first mover and current leader in quantum computing, could be heading for an IPO, Wall Street Journal reported in January 2015, but it's also a prime target for acquisition by any of the large tech companies mentioned here.
"[Quantum computing] could tackle problems that would take today’s computers eons to solve in the time it takes to grab a cup of coffee," stated Microsoft. "It could have wildest imagination-type applications in fields such as machine learning and medicine, chemistry and cryptography, materials science and engineering. It could allow humans to understand and control the very building blocks of the universe." In a recently published research paper, Microsoft scientists argue that an operational quantum computer could be achieved - presumably by Microsoft itself - by 2025.
Experimental and highly imaginative computing technologies are only a tiny part of the activities at Microsoft, so the partnership with Rambus can't be expected to have a short-term impact on Microsoft stock. However, it should be taken as one more indication that the software giant is wisely placing early bets on quantum computing, which is expected to become one of the hottest technologies of the next decade, and long-term investors should consider Microsoft stock as a buy-and-hold investment.
The impact of the partnership with Microsoft on Rambus could be closer and more significant. Rambus' stock jumped up after the announcement of the partnership, and is likely to improve steadily once the first results of the collaboration are announced.