Intel has announced 49-qubit quantum computer chip at the ongoing CES event, which marks a major milestone for the company in its bid to achieve dominance in the field. The above revelation is also commendable coming as it does on the back of the 17-qubit quantum computer chip that Intel had launched just this last October.
To have made the jump to a 49-qubit capable system from 17-qubit within just two months makes for a huge improvement, it must be said. CEO Brian Krzanich said they are being assisted in this endeavor by Qutech, a Netherlands based lab currently engaged with testing and developing systems based on the technology being formulated.
Intel, however, isn’t disclosing much about its latest exploits in the field though it is likely the technology developed for the 17 qubit system will also find application in the more powerful 49 qubit system as well. Those include tweaks to the basic architecture to make them more robust and reliable. The scalable interconnect should likely be a further improvement over the 17 qubit system’s ability to handle input and output of 10 – 100x more signals to the chip.
However, notwithstanding all the advancements achieved so far, it is nowhere near that quantum computers can be expected to find application in a real-world scenario. Back in October during the launch of the 17 qubit system, Intel had listed out one of the biggest drawbacks with quantum computing being its unreliability so that even the slightest of noise could lead to data loss.
Further, the 17-qubits systems required temperatures of 20 millikelvins for them to justify their operational existence. For those not in the knowing, 20 millikelvin is as cold as the deep space is 250 times over. While it is not known at the moment how much Intel has been able to improve on these counts with the latest 49-qubit systems, it would be perhaps safe to assume there still is a good few years left for quantum computing to emerge on the domestic or even industrial scene sans any major strings attached.
Intel, meanwhile also delved a bit about what it referred to as spin qubits. While details on this are also scarce at the moment, the chip maker said this to be an attempt to see if silicon can be introduced in the qubit scheme of things. Maybe these are what that will see getting commercialized before full-fledged quantum computers do.