Microsoft is interested in quantum computing

One of the largest IT company is the world shows interest to the computer of the future
26 September 2017   978

Microsoft discussed its progress in creation of a quantum computer and giving developers tools to experiment with this new computing paradigm on existing machines.

Microsoft has a quatum computing lab in Santa Barbara, called Station Q. The main idea of the lab is to create a commercial quatum computer. Microsoft is still in thoughts - whether sell the device or make it available thru Azure service. Every quatum computer needs a classic computer to control it and a data center. 

Microsoft Research Station Q, located on the campus of the University of California, Santa Barbara, was founded in 2005. Station Q's collaborators explore theoretical and experimental approaches to creating the quantum analog of the traditional bit—the qubit. The group is led by Dr. Michael Freedman, a renowned mathematician who has won the prestigious Fields Medal, the highest honor in mathematics.

A real quatum computer is still far away in the future. But developers will soon be able to run Microsoft’s simulator on their own machine. According to TechCrunch, the Microsoft developed a new programming language for writing these quantum applications.

We like to talk about co-development. We are developing those [the hardware and software stack] together so that you’re really feeding back information between the software and the hardware as we learn, and this means that we can really develop a very optimized solution.

Krysta Svore
Microsoft team

The programming language takes its key concepts for C#, F#, Python and other languages, but with the addition of new features for accessing the features of a quantum computer.

All of these software tools is planned to be available by the end of the year. They are not planned to be open source. 

Microsoft to Use AI to Create Human Voice

Synthetic voice is nearly indistinguishable from recordings of people
27 September 2018   692

Researchers from Microsoft recorded computer voice, imitating human speech. To overcome the difficulties of the traditional model, they used neural networks for speech synthesis. Microsoft promises to provide support for 49 languages ​​and the ability to create unique voices for the needs of companies in the near future.

Synthesis of speech with the help of neural networks involves comparing the stress and length (so-called prosody) of the speaker's speech units, as well as their synthesis into a computer voice. In systems of traditional speech synthesis, prosody is divided into acoustic and linguistic analysis, controlled by various models. As a result, the speech is noisy and indistinct. Representatives of Microsoft argue that in the model of neural synthesis two stages are combined into one, so the voice sounds like a real one.

The developers are convinced that the synthesis of speech with the help of neural networks will make it more natural to communicate with virtual interlocutors and assistants. Moreover, it will enable you to convert e-books into audiobooks and will allow you to change the scoring of built-in navigators.

Microsoft Neural TTS
Microsoft Neural TTS

Azure computing power is available for real-time use, and Azure Kubernetes is responsible for this. Simultaneous application of neural synthesis of speech together with traditional speaks about expansion and increase of availability of service. At the moment, there are a female voice named Jessa and a man named Guy.

Microsoft is competing in speech recognition and synthesis technologies with Google, which updated its services in late August 2018. Google Cloud announced the release of a stable API for the synthesis of speech Cloud Text-to-Speech with the experimental function of audio profiles and support for several new languages.