In 2016, Purdue University and Microsoft have signed a five-year agreement to develop a useable quantum computer. Purdue is one of four international universities in the collaboration. Michael Manfra, Purdue University’s Bill and Dee O’Brien Chair Professor of Physics and Astronomy, professor of materials engineering and professor of electrical and computer engineering, will lead the effort at Purdue to build a robust and scalable quantum computer by producing what scientists call a “topological qubit.” The team assembled by Microsoft will work on a type of quantum computer that is expected to be especially robust against interference from its surroundings, a situation known in quantum computing as “decoherence.” The “scalable topological quantum computer” is theoretically more stable and less error-prone. “One of the challenges in quantum computing is that the qubits interact with their environment and lose their quantum information before computations can be completed,” Manfra says. “Topological quantum computing utilizes qubits that store information “non-locally” and the outside noise sources have less effect on the qubit, so we expect it to be more robust.