At the International Solid State Circuits Conference, which runs through this week in San Francisco, Intel and QuTech — a partnership between Delft University of Technology and TNO (Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research) — are unveiling the technical designs for a first-of-its-kind cryogenic control chip for quantum computing, which they call Horse Ridge. From a report: Intel Labs and QuTech researchers outlined the technical features of the new cryogenic quantum control chip in a research paper. They designed the scalable system-on-chip (SOC) to operate at cryogenic temperatures, simplifying the control electronics and interconnects required to elegantly scale and operate large quantum computing systems. Horse Ridge addresses fundamental challenges in building a quantum system powerful enough to demonstrate quantum practicality — scalability, flexibility, and fidelity.
The challenge of quantum computing is that right now, it only really works at near-freezing temperatures. Intel is trying to change that, but the control chip is a step toward enabling control at very low temperatures, as it eliminates hundreds of wires going into a refrigerated case that houses the quantum computer. Currently, quantum researchers are working with just a small number of qubits, or quantum bits, using smaller, custom-designed systems surrounded by complex control and interconnect mechanisms. Intel’s Horse Ridge greatly minimizes this complexity.