Intel upgrades quantum computer ambitions with new control chip

From CNET: Intel unveiled on Thursday its Horse Ridge 2 processor for controlling quantum computers, an important milestone in making the potentially revolutionary machines practical.

The Horse Ridge 2 isn't a quantum processor itself but is designed to solve the challenges of communicating with future quantum processors with thousands or more qubits. The processor is the second generation of a family that debuted in 2019.

The processor comes as Intel endeavors to catch up with quantum computer rivals like IBM and Google. The chipmaker hopes it eventually will leapfrog the competition with processors housing vastly more qubits, the data processing element fundamental to quantum computers, than its competitors have. Horse Ridge 2 moves Intel closer to that goal by making Intel's large-qubit-count designs more workable.

Making quantum computers practical is key to transforming the expensive machines into technology that can tackle problems out of reach of conventional computers. Proponents expect the machines to help spur breakthroughs in materials science, finance and logistics when they become more readily available and affordable.

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