Quantum computing is the next big technological revolution, and it's coming sooner than you might think. IBM unveiled its own quantum processor this past May, scientists have been experimenting with silicon-laced diamonds (and basic silicon, too) as a quantum computing substrate, Google is already looking at cloud-based solutions and Microsoft is already creating a new coding language for the technology. Now Intel has taken another big step towards a quantum computing reality: the company has created a new superconducting chip using advanced material science and manufacturing techniques, and delivered it to Intel's research partner in the Netherlands, QuTech.
According to Intel, the building blocks of quantum computing, qubits, are very fragile. They can only operate at extremely low temperatures (250 times colder than deep space) and must be packaged carefully to prevent data loss. Intel's research groups in Oregon and Arizona have found a way to manufacture 17-quibit chips with an architecture that makes them more reliable at higher temperatures and reduced RF interference between each qubit. The chip can send and receive 10 to 100 times more signal than comparable wire-bonded chips and has an advanced design that allows for the techniques to be applied to larger quantum integrated circuits, which are much bigger than typical silicon chips.
"Our quantum research has progressed to the point where our partner QuTech is simulating quantum algorithm workloads, and Intel is fabricating new qubit test chips on a regular basis in our leading-edge manufacturing facilities," said Intel Labs' Dr. Michael Mayberry. "Intel's expertise in fabrication, control electronics and architecture sets us apart and will serve us well as we venture into new computing paradigms, from neuromorphic to quantum computing."