Intel gives glimpse into mind-blowing future of computing

by Muhammad Irfan Raza
Published: Last Updated on
Intel Quantum Computing Feature

Quantum computing is quite possibly the future of computing, has some scary security applications (like the breakdown of conventional bit-based encryption), but work is already underway to overcome them.

There’s a race brewing in Silicon Valley to create the best quantum computer — one that could change the world by making the impossible possible — and some big gains in that race were just announced at CES.

Switching Qubits from bit seems to take not much longer; we can sort of cheat around the entire problem to create a vast new area of the computer. Intel debuted its first 49-Qubit processor to the world at CES 2018 which will probably go down as a historic event in the history of computing.

Intel’s efforts into Quantum computing give birth to 3 prototypes: led by a 49-Qubit quantum chip codenamed Tangle Lake

Before we go any further, the codename Tangle Lake is a play on one of the two significant properties of Quantum Computing systems.

The codename Tangle Lake is a play on one of two significant properties of Quantum Computing Systems.

  1. The quantum entanglement that allows some quantum workloads to be executrix and
  2. the ultracold temperatures (or superconductive temps) required for such chips to function.

Today, just two months after delivery of a 17-qubit superconducting test chip, Intel unveiled “Tangle Lake,” a 49-qubit superconducting quantum test chip. The chip is named after a chain of lakes in Alaska, a nod to the extremely cold temperatures and the entangled state that quantum bits (or “qubits”) require functioning (PS: that is coincidentally also what the superconducting part of a quantum processor entails).

A first 49-qubit prototype. Image Credits: Anandtech The 49 Qubit Chip

Tangle Lake represents progress toward Intel’s goal of developing of a complete quantum computing system – from architecture to algorithms to control electronics.

Achieving a 49-qubit test chip is an important milestone because it will allow researchers to assess and improve error correction techniques and simulate computational problems.

The 49 Qubit Chip

The pictures above shown are Intel’s recent efforts starting with 7 Qubit prototype then 17 Qubit prototype and finally current 49-qubit prototype. In his Keynote, Krzanich predicted that quantum computing would solve problems which might take out best supercomputers months or years to resolve, such as drug development financial modeling and climate forecasting.

The Quantum computing has potential to solve problems conventional computer can’t handle the field is still nascent.

“In the quest to deliver a commercially viable quantum computing system, it’s anyone’s game,” said Mike Mayberry, corporate vice president and managing director of Intel Labs. “We expect it will be five to seven years before the industry gets to tackling engineering-scale problems, and it will likely require 1 million or more qubits to achieve commercial relevance.”

The need to scale to greater numbers of working qubits is why Intel, in addition to investing in superconducting qubits, is also researching another type called spin qubits in silicon. Spin qubits could have a scaling advantage because they are much smaller than superconducting qubits. Spin qubits resemble a single electron transistor, which is similar in many ways to conventional transistors and potentially able to be manufactured with comparable processes.

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