Intel unveiled its second-generation quantum computing control chip during its Intel Labs virtual event today. The chip, codenamed Horse Ridge II, is another milestone toward making quantum computing — one of the holy grails of computing — more practical. The new prototype builds on the first-generation Horse Ridge controller introduced in 2019. Horse Ridge II has more capability and higher levels of integration to control a quantum computer, which remains a long-term goal for the company.
At the outset of the project, Intel’s researchers 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. Most quantum computing systems only really works at near-freezing temperatures. Intel is trying to change that, but in the meantime, the control chip eliminates having to run hundreds of wires into a refrigerated case that houses the quantum computer.