Intel Labs has revealed what the company believes to be a unique cryogenic control chip: the code name is Horse Ridge and will be able to accelerate the development of full-stack quantum computing systems

Horse Ridge, explain the researchers of Intel Labs, will allow control of more quantum bits (qubit) and will trace the way towards scaling larger systems, marking an important milestone in the path towards ‘practicality as many

A concept, that of quantum practicality, which Intel (not alone) considers more essential than that of quantum supremace, on which Google beats more.

Why, Intel explains it: quantum computers show the potential to address problems that conventional computers cannot handle, exploiting a phenomenon of quantum physics that allows quabits to exist simultaneously in several states.

As a result, quabits can conduct a large number of calculations simultaneously, greatly speeding up the resolution of complex problems.

However, according to Intel, the quantum research community is still beginning to demonstrate quantum practicality, a benchmark that can be determined whether a quantum system can provide revolutionary performance to solve real world problems.

Intel’s investment in quantum computing covers the entire hardware and software stack, in order to pursue the development and marketing of a commercially viable quantum system.

And that’s where Horse Ridge comes in. In the race to realise the potential of quantum computers, the experts of Intel Labs still explain, researchers have focused extensively on the manufacture of qubits, building test chips that demonstrate the exponential power of a small number of qubits operating in overlap.

However, in the early development of quantum hardware, Intel identified a large bottleneck towards the commercial quantum computing: interconnections and control electronics.

So far, according to Intel, researchers have focused on building small-scale quantum systems to demonstrate the potential of this technology.

In this, researchers have relied on existing electronic tools to connect the quantum system, inside the cryogenic refrigerator, to the traditional computational devices that regulate the performance of the qubits and program the system.

These devices are often custom designed to control individual qubits, and require hundreds of connection cables inside and outside the refrigerator to control the quantum processor.

This extended control wiring for each qubit will hinder the ability to scale the quantum computer to the hundreds or thousands of qubits required to demonstrate quantum practicality. Not to mention, he still points out, the millions of qubits required for a commercially viable quantum solution.

With Horse Ridge, Intel says that it can radically simplify the control electronics required to operate a quantum system.

Replacing these bulky tools with a highly integrated system-on-chip (SoC) will simplify design and allow sophisticated signal processing techniques to speed up configuration times, improve the performance of the quabits and allow the system to scale

Horse Ridge was developed together with Intel’s research staff at QuTech, a partnership between TU Delft (the Technical University of Delft, the Netherlands) and TNO (Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research), and

The in-house manufacture of these control chips at Intel, according to the company in Santa Clara will greatly accelerate the company’s ability to design, test and optimize a commercially viable quantum computer.

In an article published on the company’s website, Jim Clarke, director of the Quantum Hardware Research Group of the Components Research Organization of Intel, illustrates the company’s vision of the path to quantum practicality.

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