(ExtremeTech) Intel has been laying the groundwork for the quantum control processor, dubbed Horse Ridge after one of the coldest spots in Oregon, that it announced this week. Intel quietly released an editorial focused on what it called “quantum practicality,” while Google and IBM were slugging it out a few months back. Intel defined “quantum practicality” as “The point at which quantum computers start being genuinely useful.” One of Intel’s biggest points in that editorial was that we may need to scale up to hundreds or even thousands of qubits to perform useful work once error-correcting qubits are factored into the equation.
Horse Ridge isn’t a conventional CPU or even anything we could refer to as a quantum computer — not, at least, in and of itself. Horse Ridge, which is fabricated on Intel’s 22nm process, is a cryogenic control chip that’s intended to control multiple qubits simultaneously.
Currently, each qubit is individually wired and specifically controlled. This makes the entire cooling apparatus significantly more difficult to design (and requires individual wire routing for each and every qubit). Horse Ridge is meant to simplify the development of quantum computers in two respects: It can control multiple qubits at once, and it can operate at higher temperatures.