Microsoft offers Azure Quantum Elements for chemical companies

Microsoft has announced Azure Quantum Elements, a new computing service aimed at helping chemical companies speed up the research and development of new materials.
Azure Quantum ElementsAzure Quantum Elements  – powered by Azure High Performance Computing (HPC) and the speed of AI — relies on computing power to help chemical companies simulate huge numbers of possible combinations of atoms. The point is to use computers to explore possible new materials virtually and then simulate how those materials would interact with the real world.

The offering uses a combination of existing quantum computers, artificial intelligence and conventional high-performance computing systems.

Microsoft said that the system has helped some customers speed up their development processes by as much as six months. Microsoft said that BASF, AkzoNobel, AspenTech, Johnson Matthey, SCGC and 1910 Genetics have been testing the system.

BASF, a leading chemical company, wants to use Azure for demanding calculations that push the limits of its custom supercomputer.

BASF is using the HPC capabilities of Azure Quantum Elements to expand its research and development capabilities and accelerate innovation to bring sustainable products to market faster, Ansgar Schaefer, a vice president at BASF who leads the company’s quantum chemistry research, said.

“Our goal is to compress the next 250 years of chemistry and materials science progress into the next 25,” Microsoft Chief Executive Satya Nadella said in a press announcement.

Azure Quantum Elements, which will be available in private preview on June 30, delivers that speed through proprietary software tailored to the needs of chemical and materials scientists.

Researchers can use Azure Quantum Elements to explore more materials with the potential to scale from thousands of candidates to tens of millions and to speed up certain chemistry simulations by 500,000 times.

The system can boost researcher productivity through automated workflows and the new Copilot in Azure Quantum, which lets researchers use natural language to do things like find and visualize data or quickly develop, configure and run simulations.

The company said that it had hit a milestone in developing its own quantum computer, saying it now has the ability to create and control a quantum particle called a Majorana fermion. Microsoft said it was also publishing a scientific paper on the milestone but gave few other details ahead of its announcement.