back to article Look! Over there! Intel's cooked a 17-qubit chip quantum package

Intel reckons it's stolen a base in the race to build quantum chippery, by shipping a cryogenically-cooled 17-qubit chip to Netherlands-based QuTech. QuTech is Chipzilla's quantum research partner – QuZilla, so to speak. Regular readers of spooky-action-stories will know a qubit is a fragile creature, losing data if there's …

  1. FozzyBear Silver badge
    Alien

    Intel YouTubed an unboxing video,

    Did they find the cat alive or dead in there?

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Intel YouTubed an unboxing video,

      Yes.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Intel YouTubed an unboxing video,

        Intel Inside and Intel Not Inside the shiny blue box

    2. Arctic fox
      Headmaster

      Re: Intel YouTubed an unboxing video,

      Probably.

    3. Adam 1 Silver badge

      Re: Intel YouTubed an unboxing video,

      As it transpires, Schroedinger had it backwards. The cat must be thought of as both not alive and not dead at the same time.

  2. Chairo

    around the size of a US quarter

    can we have this translated to something more universally understandable? Perhaps in guinea coin size or something?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: around the size of a US quarter

      How many yocto-Wales is that?

    2. Nolveys Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: around the size of a US quarter

      can we have this translated to something more universally understandable?

      0.000000056 football fields.

      1. hammarbtyp Silver badge

        Re: around the size of a US quarter

        Metric football (Soccer) or US standard football fields?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Metric football (Soccer) or US standard football fields?

          A sport played mainly by throwing an elongated ellipsoidal ball by hand can not be called football, therefore the only football played in the US is what is locally known as soccer

    3. Mephistro Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: around the size of a US quarter

      Better yet, translate it into Ningis and Pus.

    4. ThomH Silver badge

      Re: around the size of a US quarter

      It's about 1,131th as far as Intel had to travel to "steal the base" mentioned in the first sentence.

    5. sisk Silver badge

      Re: around the size of a US quarter

      Around 1.5 thumbs.

  3. wallaby

    No no no no.............

    I've bemoaned the passing of the days of 386 - those cards bounce back too quickly now when you win solitaire - with a quantum computer all the cards will occupy all of the space and non at the same time - where's the fun in that?

    1. wallaby

      ..... Either that or it will turn into a bowl of petunias and a very confused whale

      its all getting very silly

      1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Not again

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Adam 1 Silver badge

      Ah, but it'll shuffle the cards better.

      1. TeeCee Gold badge

        Maybe, but it's still not much of a challenge when every draw gives you all 52 cards simultaneously.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "Ah, but it'll shuffle the cards better."

        It doesn't need to. All the orderings are already in there. You can play all the possible games at once but it'll only tell you the result of one of them when you ask it if you won.

        1. TechnicalBen Silver badge
          Holmes

          Or all of them...

          Or give an average of your score across all of them...

          And any answer will only be to a probability of confidence. At least when I currently lose at Solitaire, I know I did loose!

    3. Simon Harris Silver badge

      Solitaire @ wallaby

      When you mentioned Solitaire, rather than think of the card game, I thought the chip was reminiscent of the board game played with pegs.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peg_solitaire

  4. Mark 110 Silver badge

    How?

    How the stuff do you get a package that small down to absolute zero? Are they forgetting to mention the data centre sized cooling equipment that com es with it? (not watched the vid - its probably explained)

    1. Horridbloke
      Boffin

      Re: How?

      They employ extreme underclocking.

      1. m0rt Silver badge

        Re: How?

        Potentially the wittiest comment on El Reg all year....

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: How?

          Yeah, the K suffix normally denotes Intel chips that let users tweak clock speeds (and T is lower TDP, S even lower). This chip carries a 0K suffix!

    2. TechnicalBen Silver badge

      Re: How?

      Linus Tech Tips on Youtube did a video on the Canadian Quantum computer project. The short answer is "yes", they did just cool the one chip with a server(ish) sized cooling system (that needs constant feeds of nitrogen IIRC and a couple of hours to get up... um, down to temperature).

      1. Dave 32
        Pint

        Re: How?

        I rather doubt you're going to get down to .02K with Nitrogen. That's firmly in the realm of Liquid Helium, and probably some of the exotic cooling methods, too, such as laser cooling:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laser_cooling

        Dave

        P.S. I don't know how they get the shark with the laser beam attached to its head in there.

  5. ArrZarr Silver badge
    Coat

    No no no

    You need to reverse the polarity. Ane fule nows this.

  6. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

    the device has to operate at 20 millikelvin, a snip above absolute zero and “250 times colder than deep space"

    So the target market is Geordies with reasonably thick t-shirts?

    1. Adam 1 Silver badge

      it's a bit hard to tell

      With stupid units like millikelvin. Who uses such nonsense?

      Why is it so difficult to just say -29.313 Hilton?

    2. ravenviz
      Joke

      So according to Google, deep space is -270 degrees, so the device is thus cooled to -67,000 degrees. Now that is cold! Brrr!

  7. werdsmith Silver badge

    People get to spend their days trying to understand and develop this stuff and trying to make it work?

    My entire career has been a complete waste of time. If I could do it all again, if I could give it all up and start again, I would be doing this stuff. I've had a rewarding career but I haven't enjoyed much of it.

    I would love this kind of research with a passion.

    1. John H Woods Silver badge

      complete waste of time

      I'll be surprised if thats fewer than 99% of us.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: complete waste of time

        If I had all the money I'd spent on drink...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I would love this kind of research with a passion.

      I would love to be able to understand this kind of research

  8. defiler Silver badge

    It's all witchcraft

    I don't understand how it works, so it can't possibly be real. I know how my dad feels about normal computers now...

    Thumbs up for the subheading though!

  9. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    Happy

    Zen

    It both has and doesn't have the Intel floating point bug..

    I have to ask. How much does one of these babies cost?

    1. Roger Varley

      Re: Zen

      If you have to ask, you can't afford it

  10. JJKing Bronze badge
    Coat

    Hope they work better.

    Quantum processors. PAH! I just hope they are better than their now defunct HDDs.

    Mines the one with the "high speed" (sic) WD Blue HDD in the pocket

  11. Potemkine! Silver badge

    “250 times colder than deep space”

    Well done marketing guys, you invented once again a slogan that means nothing - with a formula which is wrong by the way, 3K / 0,02K = 150.

  12. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    So, still not really got an actual programmable architecture then?

    Looking over the Wiki entry on this that's can test 2^17 states simultaneously.

    If the wiki article is correct then "programming" a quantum m/c is more like the programming of an FPGA than anything else, where you have a quantum gate array" whose connectivity map is the "program"

    Interesting side note in the article that the first go at this used "spin" as a parameter and actually dates from 1968 !

    1. TechnicalBen Silver badge

      Re: So, still not really got an actual programmable architecture then?

      I'm tempted to downvote... as at this point it is about getting the states.

      "Programming" is not even kinda on the tables, is it? 17 qubits is like asking a computer to count to 17, and stop when it has hit the number I requested.

      That's not a lot of computing power (roughly a 4bit integer search in binary). So comparable to a single 4 bit integer storage when it comes to normal computing.

      However, putting a lot of these together, and possibly smaller/more efficient ones, and we could scale up to 256bit key length, and then things start to get interesting (though it may need to be the length of the message and key) to get very fast attacks on encryption. [edit] A quick read says we need 4-8k of them. A scaling we did quite easily with transistors. :P [/edit]

      (Most of the above is guesswork of the articles I've read, I would hope someone could explain the actual details)

  13. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
    Coat

    Mandatory Discworld quote

    "IT HAS TO DO WITH THE UNCERTAINTY PRINCIPLE"

    "What's that?"

    "I AM NOT SURE"

    Sorry, couldn't resist. Mine's the one with "Thud" in the pocket

    1. Adam 1 Silver badge

      Re: Mandatory Discworld quote

      I both see and fail to see what you both did and did not do there or somewhere not there.

  14. shawnfromnh

    I hope I can find a heatsink and fan combo to run this baby.

  15. jonathan keith

    0.02K?

    I'd suggest those Dutchies hire my ex to help with cooling that thing. She can get the atmosphere down to that sort of temperature with just a look.

    1. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

      Re: 0.02K?

      Yeah, but would't looking screw up the result

    2. Dave 32
      Pint

      Re: 0.02K?

      So, not what you'd call a "hot babe"?

      Dave

  16. x_tricky
    Mushroom

    Quantum computing, powered by Windows 7, see 25 seconds

    1. Dave 32
      Devil

      Windows 7? That'll never be a success. I'm going to hold out for the one that runs Windows XP.

      Dave

  17. technewsjunkie
    Coat

    How many Qubits needed to be seriously useful ?

    I was thinking that 17 Qubits was a decent advance on the 6 or so Qubits I'd heard for Quantum Computers until recently. However a quick google showed claim of a 51 Qubit array:

    https://www.allaboutcircuits.com/news/another-record-for-quantum-computing-51-qubit-quantum-computer-array

    Also I was intrigued/mind boggled that even Microsoft is releasing a new quantum computing programming language, with full Visual Studio integration, along with a quantum computing simulator. I did have to do a 1st of April date check ! See the Quantum "Hello, World!" teleportation program example.

    https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2017/09/microsoft-quantum-toolkit/

    So perhaps all this Quantum computing stuff is not so far off becoming useful. I wonder how many Qubits they need before some serious practical uses. I am aware of China using satellites already for a quantum encrypted network.

    1. TechnicalBen Silver badge

      Re: How many Qubits needed to be seriously useful ?

      Forget practical uses... I want my GPU powered by one (very large array) of these! :D

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