Intel's new 17-qubit chip marches toward the quantum computing future

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IBM has unveiled its quantum processor this year, while researchers are experimenting on the basic silicon as well as silicon laced diamonds as a substrate of the quantum computing. Also the needs of material science are underscored as well as manufacturing the semiconductors realizes the quantum computing promises. It features a new architecture that makes it more reliable than previous test chips, while also giving it improved thermal performance and less radio frequency (RF) interference between qubits.

However, building large-scale, accurate quantum computers is a challenge; one of which is producing heterogenous, stable qubits. Intel is just joyous about the fact that its undeniable expertise, and history in manufacturing and fabricating chips and architectures is succeeding in a new way in the phase of computing. Intel said it works at 20 millikelvin, extremely close to the coldest temperatures in the Universe, to make the qubits operate correctly.

The quantum supremacy horizon will likely be reached in the next couple years, but building a broadly useful quantum computer is likely to require thousands or millions of qubits (the quantum version of a classical bit). Intel's Components Research Group (CR) in OR and Assembly Test and Technology Development (ATTD) teams in Arizona are pushing the limits of chip design and packaging technology to address quantum computing's unique challenges. Intel also uses a scalable interconnect scheme, which facilitates up to 100 times more signals into and out of the chip compared to wirebonded models.

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Today that all changes, with Intel announcing the delivery of a new 17-qubit to QuTech, a move it says "demonstrates the fast progress Intel and QuTech are making in researching and developing a working quantum computing system".

Intel defines quantum computing as the "ultimate in parallel computing".

Despite quantum computing's very long rampup and recent growth spurt, the field is full of open questions.

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Once the chip is running as it should, Intel and QuTech plan to figure out what hardware and software they need to take advantage of it.

"With this test chip, we'll focus on connecting, controlling and measuring multiple, entangled qubits towards an error correction scheme and a logical qubit", Professor Leo DiCarlo from QuTech. Intel says its work differs from rival initiatives because it's looking at multiple types of qubits.

About this new system, Jim Clarke, director of Intel, said; "We're relying on our expertise in hardcore engineering, we're working on all parts of the compute stack: the chip, the control electronics, the system architecture, the algorithm". "These spin qubits resemble a single electron transistor similar in many ways to conventional transistors and potentially able to be manufactured with comparable processes", said QuTech. These include the superconducting qubits incorporated into this newest test chip, and an alternative type called spin qubits in silicon. But Intel said it's now making them regularly.

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