Intel debuts 2nd-Gen Horse Ridge cryogenic quantum control chip

Horse Ridge II, Intel’s second-generation cryogenic control chip, brings key control functions for quantum computer operation into the cryogenic refrigerator — as close as possible to the qubits themselves — to streamline the complexity of control wiring for quantum systems. (Credit: Intel Corporation)

At an Intel Labs virtual event today, Intel unveiled Horse Ridge II, its second-generation cryogenic control chip, marking another milestone in the company’s progress toward overcoming scalability, one of quantum computing’s biggest hurdles.

Building on innovations in the first-generation Horse Ridge controller introduced in 2019, Horse Ridge II supports enhanced capabilities and higher levels of integration for elegant control of the quantum system. New features include the ability to manipulate and read qubit states and control the potential of several gates required to entangle multiple qubits.

Today’s early quantum systems use room-temperature electronics with many coaxial cables that are routed to the qubit chip inside a dilution refrigerator. This approach does not scale to a large number of qubits due to form factor, cost, power consumption and thermal load to the fridge. With the original Horse Ridge, Intel took the first step toward addressing this challenge by radically simplifying the need for multiple racks of equipment and thousands of wires running into and out of the refrigerator in order to operate the quantum machine. Intel replaced these bulky instruments with a highly integrated system-on-chip (SoC) that simplifies system design and uses sophisticated signal processing techniques to accelerate setup time, improve qubit performance and enable the engineering team to efficiently scale the quantum system to larger qubit counts.

New features enable:

  • Qubit readout: The function grants the ability to read the current qubit state. The readout is significant, as it allows for on-chip, low-latency qubit state detection without storing large amounts of data, thus saving memory and power.
  • Multigate pulsing: The ability to simultaneously control the potential of many qubit gates is fundamental for effective qubit readouts and the entanglement and operation of multiple qubits, paving the path toward a more scalable system.

Read more.