The American silicon giant Intel, which was recently outperformed by Samsung in the chip sales numbers, has achieved a new milestone. Intel’s Netherlands-based partner QuTech has managed to stuff a programmable 2-qubit quantum computer on a silicon chip and run two quantum algorithms.
To make the silicon-based quantum chip a reality, researchers used a unique variant of the qubit (the primary computing unit used in quantum computers), known as the spin qubit. It is an electron excited using microwaves.
Using the spin qubit eliminates the need for the necessary extreme conditions. For instance, the near-zero temperature and also the use of superconductors, like in the 17-qubit and the breakthrough 49-qubit quantum computing chips Intel created with their partner QuTech.
The experiment is more of an effort towards making quantum computing compatible with the existing technology, rather than showing off its performance. The presence of silicon is somewhat assuring; the current computer industry has already widely explored the material. The researchers say that the silicon material “naturally causes little disruption to our qubits” and “silicon quantum chips are very similar to industrial classic computer chips.”
Despite the ongoing developments in Quantum computing with scientists being able to control a few qubits reliably, we are still away from realizing the dream of a real quantum computer. But with the said development on the table, we might see more powerful quantum chips capable of executing more complex algorithms sooner than expected. But to do so, the number of qubits would have to be increased, according to the researchers.