Thursday, January 25, 2018

Intel Announces 49 Qubit Quantum Computer

Quantum computing has been a major research topic for multiple companies the past few years, with D-Wave, IBM, and Intel all launching their own systems and improving them at a fairly rapid clip. At CES 2018 this week, Intel’s CEO, Brian Krzanich, declared the company’s new 49-qubit quantum computer represented a step towards “quantum supremacy.”

A 49 qubit system is a major advance for Intel, which just demonstrated a 17-qubit system two months ago. Intel’s working with the Netherlands-based Qutech on this project, and expanding the number of qubits is key to creating quantum computers that can deliver real-world results.

When Intel launched its 17-qubit system in October, it wrote: “Qubits are tremendously fragile: Any noise or unintended observation of them can cause data loss. This fragility requires them to operate at about 20 millikelvin – 250 times colder than deep space.” This is also why we won’t be seeing quantum computers in anyone’s house at any point. While early classical computers were also room-sized and required commensurate cooling solutions, there’s no known way to build hand-sized or even desktop quantum machines that incorporate the cooling required.

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