Intel's quantum computing efforts are starting to show tangible results: two years after the company first unveiled its Horse Ridge cryogenic control chip, researchers have demonstrated that the technology is delivering on its original promise, and paving the way for quantum computers to become more practical.
Practicality, in effect, is not quantum devices' most remarkable trait. In their current format, quantum computers rely on quantum chips that need to be cooled down to extreme temperatures, in order to exert better control over the fragile qubits on the processor. Typically, qubits operate at 20 millikelvin, or about -273 degrees Celsius – temperatures that are even colder than outer space.
But to interact with the qubits, whether to control their behavior or read their state, flesh-and-bone scientists work in room-temperature environments, with room-temperature instruments. And since control electronics struggle to perform well at cryogenic temperatures, each qubit has to be linked to the instruments with a single wire.
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