The Future of Quantum Computing Could Live on a Cryogenic Chip

It seems like quantum computers will likely be a big part of our computing future—but getting them to do anything super useful has been famously difficult. Lots of new technologies are aiming to get commercially viable quantum computing here just a little bit faster, including one innovation that shrinks quantum technology down onto a chip. Enter: the cryogenic chip. But first, a quick refresher on how quantum computing works. Unlike a classical bit, a quantum computer uses quantum bits, or qubits, to make calculations. These qubits have the potential to be super powerful, providing quantum computers with the potential to run really complex calculations exponentially faster than classical computers. But qubits are also really, really hard to both make and control. Today, quantum computers have less than 100 qubits, but in order to tackle problems we want answers to, we will need to scale up to million-qubit systems. That means that we will need a more sustainable way to control the behavior of qubits. One solution? A cryogenic computer chip. Intel just debuted a chip its calling Horse Ridge, a technology that takes the electronics needed to control the qubits, and puts them on a chip that’s capable of functioning at about 4 Kelvin, so they can live inside the cryogenic chamber with the qubits. But how does this cryogenic chip work, how realistic of a solution is it really, and what could it mean for the future of quantum computing?