Accelerating scientific discovery with Azure Quantum Elements

  • 3 min read
  • 21st June, 2023
  • Media Highlights
  • External Writer

Today, Microsoft is announcing new advances to Azure Quantum aimed at accelerating scientific discovery.

From the Iron Age revolutionizing agriculture to the Silicon Age revolutionizing how we communicate, new materials have always created inflection points for societal progress. Advances in this space will be transformative. For example, the transportation industry can develop more efficient and powerful batteries.  Pharmaceutical researchers can develop new drugs. The chemistry industry will be able to discover safer and more sustainable compounds for the products we use daily, like electronics, paints and textiles. And most importantly, scientists will be able to solve society’s most pressing challenges like reversing climate change and addressing food insecurity.

However, understanding nature is not an easy task. For accurate calculations of the most complex quantum states of molecules, the number of energy states of just 100 electrons can exceed the number of atoms in the visible universe.

Now, with a new generation of AI, the world’s most advanced AI models are coming together with our universal user interface – natural language – and nature’s foundational language – chemistry – ushering in a new era of scientific discovery. And that’s just the first step as we prepare for an even bigger transformation ahead of us: quantum supercomputing.

Innovators can start experimenting with the world’s best quantum hardware in Azure Quantum and get ready to solve more complex problems when quantum supercomputing becomes a reality. We are fast approaching the time when scientists and businesses will be able to solve previously intractable problems to unlock growth and human progress.

Today, we are introducing three advances in Azure Quantum towards this vision. 

1. Azure Quantum Elements

Azure Quantum Elements accelerates scientific discovery by integrating the latest breakthroughs in high-performance computing (HPC), artificial intelligence and quantum computing.

With Azure Quantum Elements, scientists and product developers can:

  • Reduce time to impact and costs by accelerating the R&D pipeline and bringing innovative products to market more quickly, with some customers seeing a six-month to one-week speed up from project kick-off to solution.
  • Dramatically increase the search space for new materials, with the potential to scale from thousands of candidates to tens of millions.
  • Speed up certain chemistry simulations by 500,000 times, which is like compressing a year into one minute.
  • Get ready for scaled quantum computing by addressing quantum chemistry problems today with AI and HPC, while experimenting with existing quantum hardware and getting priority access to Microsoft’s quantum supercomputer in the future.

Using this comprehensive system, researchers can make advances in chemistry and materials science with unprecedented scale, speed and accuracy.

Scale. Scientists can understand the complex reactions needed to produce a product, find new candidates, and optimize the entire process. For example, scientists can now use Azure Quantum Elements to explore 1.5 million potential configurations in complex reactions comprised of 50,000 elementary steps. Early adopters are already using this massive scale to find more sustainable replacements for use in many everyday products, or entirely new products for innovative scenarios.

Speed. Azure Quantum Elements accelerates simulation by incorporating Microsoft’s specialized AI models for chemistry, which we trained on millions of chemistry and materials data points.  We based these models on the same breakthrough technologies you see elsewhere with generative AI. While Copilot understands the language of humans, Azure Quantum Elements also understands the language of nature – chemistry.

Accuracy. Today, scientists are using unique AI models and HPC scale to run simulations with higher levels of accuracy not available before. Azure Quantum Elements also integrates classical and quantum computing to provide an on-ramp to even greater simulation accuracy. In the future, scientists believe a quantum supercomputer will enable predictive chemical design at 100X accuracy.

Industry innovators, including BASF, AkzoNobel, AspenTech, Johnson Matthey, SCGC, and 1910 Genetics have already adopted Azure Quantum Elements to transform their research and development, and today, others can join them. Azure Quantum Elements will be available in private preview in a few weeks, and you can sign up today to learn more.

Read more here.