Microsoft, the tech behemoth renowned worldwide for its cutting-edge digital innovations, is going all-in on #Quantum computing. The company announced at its Ignite Conference on Monday that it’s one step closer to making quantum computing a reality, including the fact that an entire new programming language has been created to support the endeavor.

Microsoft’s quantum computing announcement during its annual conference, which took place in Orlando, stole the show, because, until recently, much of the work toward it has largely been only theoretical. The company insisted that its quantum computing lab in #Santa Barbara, California, is on the verge of redefining computing.

The tech-giant’s quantum computing team in Santa Barbara has grown exponentially recently, with Microsoft’s corporate vice president for quantum research Todd Holmdahl telling Tech Crunch that its team has tripled in size in just the past year alone.

One of the focal points of Microsoft’s announcement was the unveiling of a new programming language specifically designed to work with the future’s quantum computers. The company’s new language doesn’t have a name yet, and is sure to be refined over time, but it can already be put to work on some of Microsoft’s existing products.

Boost for Cortana

Microsoft’s digital assistant Cortana, for instance, is likely to benefit from the new language, which could significantly cut down the amount of time needed to train it. "Even if everything else was the same, Cortana would improve 30 times faster," Microsoft's research chief Craig Mundie told Engadget. Microsoft said that developers could expect a preview of its new language in its Visual Studio by the end of 2017.

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Quantum computing, if it’s made a reality, would fundamentally reshape modern computing. Microsoft’s own quantum computing hub shows that it could be used not only for modern business staples, like the development of new medicines and industrial practices, but also to advance some of today’s most ambitious tech endeavors, like the creation of artificial intelligence and the race between virtualization and cloud computing.

Competition with IBM

With its latest announcement, the company has only furthered its already expansive lead over its competitors like IBM in the field of quantum computing. “If you look at our competitors, some of them have three nines of fidelity and we could be at a thousand or 10 thousand times that,” Holmdahl confided to Tech Crunch.

Quantum computing isn’t the only thing that Microsoft announced that made tech gurus turn their heads, either. The company also unveiled its ambitious plans to bring to market new Windows 10 S devices from HP, Fujitsu, and Lenovo, which are expected to be released later this year.

Microsoft also announced its highly anticipated Office 2019, the next generation in its widely used programs that include Word and Excel. New features included in the Office 2019 package included improved inking features like pressure sensitivity and tilt effects, and better data analysis formulas for Microsoft Excel.

The new Office 2019 is expected to debut in the second half of 2018, according to the company, though preview versions are likely to roll out to some exclusive testers earlier in the year. #cloud computing