Recently, Intel and QuTech jointly unveiled the designs for a new cryogenic quantum chip. This type of chip operates at extremely low temperatures, which provides benefits in quantum mechanics.

The extremely low (cryogenic) temperatures simplify control electronics and connections between chips. The new design is a System-On-Chip (SOC) that addresses certain challenges in quantum computing. The chip, codenamed Horse Ridge, does not ensure that low temperatures are no longer required for quantum computing, but rather that much more control is possible at such low temperatures. The new design makes hundreds of connections superfluous that were previously required for such extremely cooled quantum computers.

The intention is, of course, to work towards the first commercially viable quantum computer. According to Jim Clarke, director of quantum hardware at Intel, this is a small step in that direction. The improved controls include reduced set up times for quantum systems, improved qubit performance and more efficient scaling.

Scalability, performance, flexibility

In addition to scalability and better qubit performance, Horse Ridge is also very flexible, allowing the use of both superconducting qubits and spin qubits. The difference between the two is that the first run at about 6 to 7 GHz, and the second at 13-20 GHz. In addition, Intel is investigating silicon spin qubits, which have the potential to function at temperatures of 1 degree Kelvin. This is relatively warm in the context of quantum computing. This research paves the way for the integration of silicon spin qubit devices with Horse Ridge’s cryogenic control, to create a solution that delivers the qubits and controls in one package.