Published: Wed, December 11, 2019
Electronics | By Kelly Massey

Intel’s claims to make quantum computing commercially viable with new chip

Intel’s claims to make quantum computing commercially viable with new chip

Besides, expressing a cautious optimism on Intel Corp.'s latest quantum computer chip, Intel's director of quantum hardware, Jim Clarke said in a statement on Monday (December 9th), "Intel recognized that quantum controls were an essential piece of the puzzle we needed to solve in order to develop a large-scale commercial quantum system".

According to the company, Intel Labs together with the QuTech research partner at TU-Delft can now use Horse Ridge to control multiple quantum bits, or qubits, and allow for the scaling of larger systems.

Intel says that Horse Ridge "allow [s] for sophisticated signal processing techniques to accelerate set-up time, improve qubit performance and enable the system to efficiently scale to larger qubit counts". The SoC also makes the qubits stand closer to each other, reducing the complexity of quantum control, from a lot of hanging cables to a single package.

While Intel is now embroiled in a x86-64 processor battle with AMD, the company is also dipping its toes into the future of computing: quantum computing to be exact. Intel's new kitchen napkin-sized Horse Ridge chip can now make non-classical machines more compact and integrated. The new cryogenic control chip will speed development of full-stack quantum computing systems, marking a milestone in the development of a commercially viable quantum computer. As a result, one small chip can greatly simplify design of quantum computers.

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The primary difference between Intel's announcements and those made by its competition is in the fact that the company's chip aims to make commercial quantum systems. This cryogenic refrigerator is then connected to standard computing devices that can regulate the qubits' performance and program the quantum systems. The Central part of the quantum machine uses the so-called "qubits". In these efforts, researchers have relied on existing electronic tools and high-performance computing rack-scale instruments to connect the quantum system inside the cryogenic refrigerator to the traditional computational devices regulating qubit performance and programming the system.

There's a clue in the nomenclature of Intel's chip itself. But in almost every photograph of the devices, there's a tangle of wires in the background connected to equipment that controls the quantum computer.

The SoC is "designed to act as a radio frequency (RF) processor to control the qubits", which is programmed with instructions that are transformed into electromagnetic microwave pulses that change the state of a qubit. This is just slightly above absolute zero, which is -459.67 degrees Fahrenheit.

Horse Ridge has been created to operate at temperatures of 4 Kelvin, or -452.47 degrees Fahrenheit. They must be out of the special refrigerator.

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