"I know a lot of physics and a lot of math. But the one place where they put up slides and it is hieroglyphics, it's quantum," Gates said.
Current Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has trouble perfectly explaining the concept, too, he said. It's impossible to explain quantum in one sentence, even for the leader of a company that's experimented with the concept for 12 years.
Though it appears close to impossible to boil down quantum computing in one quick explanation, Microsoft's past and present leaders agreed on the concept's usefulness. Nadella said quantum will be the "next breakthrough that will allow us to keep up this exponential growth in computing power and to solve problems, whether it's about climate or food production or drug discovery."
Microsoft, which is one of the tech industry's biggest investors in cloud computing research, invested in new experiments in quantum, which it considers next-generation cloud. On Monday, the company announced a new quantum computing programming language to be released later this year along with a quantum simulator. The new tools are geared toward getting developers to "ask the big questions and get even bigger answers, from a billion parallel universes."
Microsoft stock traded down 1.7% late Monday to $73.15.
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