Intel Labs has introduced its new cryogenic control chip codenamed Horse Ridge that will speed up development of full-stack quantum computing systems. According to Intel, Horse Ridge will enable commercially viable quantum computers.

The Horse Ridge cryogenic control chip will control multiple quantum bits (qubits) at the same time, an essential capability required to build a large-scale commercial quantum system, according to Intel. The chipmaker has experimented with silicon spin qubit and superconducting qubit systems and believes that the major challenges for commercial-scale quantum computing are interconnects and control electronics, not production of qubits — compute elements that exist in multiple states simultaneously — themselves.

Today’s prototype quantum computers rely on existing electronics tools to link the quantum system inside the cryogenic refrigerator with contemporary computational devices that control qubit performance. Since every qubit is controlled individually, the extensive cabling limits ability to scale quantum computing systems to the hundreds or thousands of qubits to hit significant performance levels. The Horse Ridge SoC supports instructions that match to basic qubit operations and uses complex signal processing techniques to translate instructions into microwave pulses that manipulate states of qubits. As a result, one small chip can greatly simplify design of quantum computers.

Intel’s Horse Ridge chip was co-developed by Intel Labs and QuTech, a joint venture between TU Delft and TNO (Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research). The device is made using Intel’s proven 22 nm FinFET process technology that has been around since 2012. The SoC can operate at cryogenic temperatures — approximately 4 Kelvin — slightly warmer than absolute zero.

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Source: Intel

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  • DanNeely - Tuesday, December 10, 2019 - link

    Is there any information about which QC groups if any are experimenting with using this in their setups? Reply
  • HStewart - Thursday, December 12, 2019 - link

    I found this from QCTech - one thing about Intel is they can make technology in chips that are for real situations - Quantum Computers needs to be real world for it to work

    https://qutech.nl/review-collaboration-intel/

    But this is more advance than most people now days - including myself and others.
    Reply
  • peevee - Tuesday, December 10, 2019 - link

    How long can they keep qubits entangled at 4K and how many?

    Seems like quantum computing so far has been experiencing anti-Moore law - more qubits means exponentially increasing cost, size and energy consumption.
    Reply
  • dmsilev - Tuesday, December 10, 2019 - link

    Both superconducting and semiconductor quantum-dot qubits live at milliKelvin temperatures, but the challenge of integrating control electronics at those temperatures is that your total heat budget, for absolutely everything, is maybe ten or twenty microwatts. At most. So, most groups looking at active control schemes for multiplexing control and readout put the active electronics either at the 500 mK stage of the cryostat (heat budget: ~50 mW) or the 4 K stage (~1-2 W). You're still limited by the space and thermal constraints of running microwave lines down to the colder parts of the system (Google's Sycamore processor, of "quantum supremacy" fame, has a few hundred coaxes for their 53 qubits, to give an idea of scale), but at least you're not running quite so many lines up to room temperature. Reply
  • npz - Tuesday, December 10, 2019 - link

    Ok I can understand using the SoC to issue the commands to control the spin of the qubit pairs but I thought the real obstacle to commercialization was the core QC itself. The article states that producing entagled particles is not a problem, ok, but my understanding was that the real obstacle was the cryogenics involved to prevent any noise from disturbing the QC. In fact any electronics at room temp connected or controlling the QC can also introduce noise and I read a recent article saying that the interconnects (what this SoC is about) is becoming intractable because those too, and eventually everything will need cryogenic temps Reply
  • MrSpadge - Wednesday, December 11, 2019 - link

    That's why this chip including interconnects is cooled to "cryogenic temperatures", meaning probably 4K. Reply
  • PeachNCream - Wednesday, December 11, 2019 - link

    I say neigh on this being a good idea. Reply
  • AdhesiveTeflon - Friday, December 13, 2019 - link

    I'm very certain whoever names their products is sitting on a 500-acre ranch in the middle of Montana and looks out the window to decide their next product name. Reply
  • mode_13h - Saturday, December 14, 2019 - link

    What? Quantum computing?

    "Let's just stop with the technology, already!" Yeah, right.
    Reply
  • pioruns - Sunday, December 15, 2019 - link

    Horse Ridge? -_- Come on, they couldn't come up with more stupid name. Reply

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