Intel has announced the launch of its new quantum computing chip called ‘Tunnel Falls.’ This chip is aimed at the quantum computing research community. Intel will be providing these chips to the Sandia National Laboratory and labs at the University of Maryland, the University of Rochester and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. This announcement comes after the release of Intel’s software package for developers earlier this year. Intel’s competitor IBM has also achieved a major breakthrough in quantum technology in collaboration with the University of California Berkeley. Other Silicon Valley giants such as Google, Microsoft, and Amazon are all working on quantum systems as well. McKinsey estimates that the quantum computing market alone could surpass $90 billion by 2040 with the potential of generating economic value in the trillions.
As classical computers use transistors that can only exist in one of two states, quantum computing promises to be a game-changer because of the qubit’s ability to exist in multiple states. However, fragile qubits are error-prone and difficult to scale. Experts suggest practical quantum computing is still years away. Silicon is an underdog in the quantum computing realm because it doesn’t have many qubits, and chipbuilding technology is still in its infancy. Intel uses classical chip manufacturing techniques and has built Tunnel Falls with silicon chip technology. Clarke, Intel’s director of quantum hardware, says that the company plans to make quantum computing a full-stack solution, including quantum-as-a-service solutions, as well.