Step to quantum excellence: Intel's 49-qubit quantum computer

    Last October, Intel announced the release of a 17-qubit chip. But three months later, at CES 2018, the company demonstrated the 49-qubit Tangle Lake quantum chip, which scientists hope will become an important component in achieving quantum superiority, since theoretically a 49-qubit quantum computer can outperform all supercomputers in the world in computing power ( on some tasks).

    We will tell about the features of Tangle Lake and the situation on the market of quantum machines below. / photo Jared Tarbell CC A quantum computer uses qubits instead of traditional bits to store information. Their work is based on the principles of superposition and involvement. According to the principle

    superposition qubits can be in states 1 and 0 at the same time, and entanglement allows the quantum states of objects to depend on each other. This allows quantum machines to solve some problems faster than classical computers (we wrote a little about the principles of quantum computers in our past materials: this and this ).

    Physicists have suggested that a 49-qubit quantum computer will possessmore performance than world supercomputers. However, creating chips of this class is a rather difficult task. Qubits are fragile objects and they can support superposition only a few nanoseconds. In this case, temperature fluctuations or an external molecule can easily disrupt superposition - decoherence will occur .

    To solve this problem, physicists create error-resistant codes, use low temperatures and Penning traps , develop new algorithms, etc. This is also done at Intel.

    Intel chip features

    The new Intel chip is named Tangle Lake after a group of lakes in Alaska. The name is a reference to low temperatures and "confusion."

    The device is based on Intel's previous development with 17 superconducting qubits. The number 17 was not chosen by chance: just so many qubits are needed to run the quantum error correction code, which was first demonstrated by the Google team. Tangle Lake was an important step for Intel, because 49 qubits allowed researchers to improve the error correction code.

    In addition, Intel has equipped a 49-qubit chip flip chip technologyto broadcast signals with more speed and less interference with close contact arrangement. The architecture of the device is built using circuits of superconducting metal , therefore it requires cooling to 20 mK. However, Intel intends to raise the temperature in future developments.

    Quantum ecosystem development

    Intel is actively working to be the first to create a working quantum system. Mike Mayberry (Mike Mayberry), head of Intel Labs, believes that quantum computers will be able to solve application problems and achieve commercial success in 5-7 years.

    Therefore, Intel partnered with QuTech and other companies to develop and test various hardware and software systems for quantum computing. The need for a large number of qubits prompted the company to further invest in the development of solutions based on spin qubits.

    Spin states of electrons and atomic nuclei are consideredfor the role of candidates for the logical states of qubits. Spin qubits are smaller than superconducting qubits, and in theory should be more reliable. Therefore, they can be scaled faster and with fewer errors.

    Intel already knows how to implement spin qubits in silicon using 300 mm technology and believes that the technology will help accelerate the development of a full-fledged quantum system.

    In addition to Intel, Australian scientists also paid attention to silicon: they managed to develop a conceptflip-flop-qubits ("flipping qubits"). Flip-flop-qubits are phosphorus atoms placed in silicon. The qubit itself consists of the spin of an electron and the spin of the atomic nucleus of phosphorus. Due to the electric field, the qubit changes its state: if the electron spin vector is directed down, and the atom is up, then this is zero, otherwise it is unity. Therefore, they are called shifting qubits. Scientists hope to introduce a system of 10 flip-flop-qubits by 2022.

    Market situation

    Other companies are also working on quantum computers. Some, for example, D-Wave, already sell ready-made solutions (however, we note that their solution works on the principle of quantum annealing).

    At CES 2018, the IBM team presented a prototype of a 50-qubit quantum computer, the development of which was discussed back in November 2017, similar to a steampunk chandelier. The system occupies 10 square meters, and its processor needs to be cooled to 10 mK, which is 10 mK closer to absolute zero, compared with the development from Intel.

    / photo IBM Research CC The

    young company Rigetti also strives for quantum excellence: one of the startup’s key developments is Forest 1.2 , which provides access to a 26-qubit virtual machine.

    ID Quantique company offers data protection services based on quantum encryption, and Qubitekk is working on a universal quantum computer - a computer that can be programmed arbitrarily to solve a wide range of problems.

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