Intel’s Newest Processor
Debuted at CES, the Consumer Technology Association’s annual conference, Intel Corporation announced their brand new quantum processors. Quantum processors are different than current processors in that they don’t compute in a binary fashion, utilizing either a 0 or a 1 to make processing decisions. Instead, a quantum computing chip can process or store a 1 and a 0 at the same time using the quirks of quantum physics. CEO of Intel Brian Krzanich proclaimed that Intel’s new chip is the company’s first step towards “quantum supremacy” directly challenging other companies pursuing similar computing capabilities.
The Tangle Lake Processor
Quantum chips processing speed is measured in Quibits, or quantum bits. quantum bits are different than the standard bits that measure normal CPU’s. A single Quibit has the processing power of 32 regular bits. Intel’s newest chip, named the Tangle Lake, has a total of 49 Quibits giving it the power of 1568 bits, easily outperforming any normal processor on the market. With 49 Quibits, the Tangle Lake is the second most powerful quantum processor released only being outcompeted by IBM’s 50 Quibit processor debuted in 2017. With their new release Intel has introduced itself as a competitor in the quantum computing market competing with Google and IBM for quantum computing supremacy.
The Future of Commercial Use
While exciting for the future of super computers quantum computing is yet to benefit commercial users. Not only are quantum computers still in their infancy, but quantum processors require an incredibly fragile run environment. For a quantum processor to function it must be in an environment that is 20 milikelvin degrees, that’s roughly 250 times colder than space. There is not a commercially available cooling mechanism that can handle this level of cooling nor is it energy efficient. Additionally, quantum processors are incredibly fragile and require an environment as static as possible; noise or an unintended observation can result in data loss from a quantum chip. Intel researchers expect quantum computing to be at least 5-7 years out before it’s commercially relevant meaning we will still have awhile before businesses can create new architecture to utilize quantum computing, but the future is promising.
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