The Volish boffins are working on a machine which is based around “non-abelian anyons” which are a quasiparticle which has only been seen in a very long blackboard equation.
Other outfits are experimenting on building quantum computers but they are using more realistic science to create the machine. Microsoft thinks that if it does something a bit different, it is hopeful that its unique approach will create a machine which is less susceptible to external interference.
Vole has assigned 40 people to work on the project so it is pretty serious about it.
Alex Bocharov, a computer scientist at Microsoft Research working on quantum computing, told Scientific American: “The upside is enormous and there is practically no downside. Microsoft is a very affluent company; it sits on something like US$100 billion in cash. So what else one would you invest in? Bill Gates is also investing in other things—to eradicate malaria and HIV that might require quantum computing at some point.”
What is odd is are these Non-abeilan anyons. The idea was first mooted by Alexei Kitaev in 1997 and was met with scepticism. They might exist but if they don’t then Microsoft might find itself sitting on a bit of a white elephant as well as a ton of unemployed quantum cats.