Intel Delivers 17-Qubit Research Chip to Quantum Computer Race

Intel Delivers 17-Qubit Research Chip to Quantum Computer Race

Along with IBM(delivered a 17-qubit prototype processor in May), delivered a 17-qubit chip for quantum computing with the aim of working with QuTech, a partner, to optimize packaging.

QuTech is the advanced research centre for Quantum Computing and Quantum Internet, a collaboration between TU Delft, TNO. Regular readers of spooky-action-stories will know a qubit is a fragile creature, losing data if there’s too much noise or, as Intel explains, if someone accidentally observes them. To protect the qubits in its chip, the device has to operate at 20 millikelvin, a snip above absolute zero and 250 times colder than deep space. That, in turn, writes a pretty demanding set of requirements for a ‘qubit-on-chip’ package.

Intel set out these objectives for its Arizona-based Components Research Group and Assembly Test and Technology Development teams:

  • The chip had to be around the size of a US quarter (it looks bigger, because the package is about the size of a half-dollar);
  • For better reliability, the chip needs low RF interference between qubits, and overall good thermal performance;
  • ”A scalable interconnect scheme that allows for 10 to 100 times more signals into and out of the chip as compared to wirebonded chips”; and
  • Processes, materials and designs suitable to scale-up towards genuine quantum integrated circuits (the discrete components in qubits are much larger than silicon chips).

Professor Leo DiCarlo of QuTech says the test chip will be used in research on ‘connecting, controlling and measuring multiple, entangled qubits’. That will contribute to two development goals: an error correction scheme, and a ‘logical qubit’ (the latter is important to quantum state storage). ‘This work will allow us to uncover new insights in quantum computing that will shape the next stage of development,’ DiCarlo added.


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