IBM vs Intel: Who will become the quantum computing leader of the future?

Quantum computing is heating up, as a growing number of entities race to benchmark, stabilize, and ultimately commercialize this technology. As of July 2021, a group from China appears to have taken the lead in terms of raw performance, but IBM, Intel, and other quantum computing developers aren’t far behind. All of that could change overnight, though. At this point, it’s too early to declare a winner in quantum computing, a technology that promises to outperform today’s conventional supercomputers. Google, IBM, Intel, and other quantum computing developers aren’t standing still, and are aggressively devising faster processors. It’s too early to declare a winner, as the technology is still in its infancy. But when it comes down to IBM vs Intel, who will become the Quantum computing leader of the future?

The Basics of Quantum Computing

Quantum computers process data using qubits (represent the probability that their observed state will be either 1 or 0) as opposed to classical computers that use bits (represent a value of either 1 or 0).

Since Qubits’ observed state can have many probabilities between 1 and 0, they tend to represent a more extensive range of data values than a bit.

Due to a phenomenon called superposition, qubits can appear in more than one state at the same point in time, which means that a qubit can have a value of both 1 and 0 at the same time.

Another phenomenon called entanglement allows qubits to be associated with one another regardless of how far apart they are relative to each other.

IBM vs Intel: What does Intel have in its store?

Intel claimed to solve some of those issues in a limited test. The chipmaker was able to produce stable quantum dots in its existing factories, which is a milestone in the company’s long-term goal to build a universal quantum computer. The company used a testing device called a “cryoprobe” to isolate and investigate the uniformity of quantum dots on its wafer.

In the process, Intel has claimed an early lead in manufacturing quantum systems. Intel’s pivot to manufacturing with advanced packaging provides a pathway to building more complex computing systems such as quantum devices, analysts said.

“We are making these quantum dots – good quantum dots – hand over foot. We’re making them across the wafer. We have high yields. We’re able to characterize all of them so we get statistics. This is unheard of, at least to our knowledge in the quantum community,” James Clarke, director of quantum hardware at Intel, told HPCwire.

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The company hopes by next year to deliver early quantum hardware to Argonne National Laboratory, which is testing quantum hardware from different vendors as part of a U.S. Department of Energy initiative called Q-Next. The U.S. government is prioritizing quantum hardware as part of an ongoing computing supremacy race with China, which is also advancing its quantum computing ambitions.

The Intel milestone was a small step, but it serves as a measure of the yield and viability of mass-manufacturing quantum chips. The Intel team isolated 12 quantum dots and four sensors, but the goal is to replicate that on a larger scale.

“This is certainly one of the hard parts, but now we have to grow this device. We have to make it larger, to get the qubits working together. This is still part of a 10-year journey. But we’re well on our way, we know what tools we have in the toolbox,” Clarke said.

IBM vs Intel: IBM to lead the race with an Eagle

In November 2021, IBM Quantum unveiled Eagle, a 127-qubit quantum processor. Eagle is leading quantum computers into a new era — a company has launched a quantum processor that has pushed it beyond the 100-qubit barrier. IBM anticipates that, with Eagle, its users will be able to explore uncharted computational territory — and experience a key milestone on the path towards practical quantum computation.

IBM views Eagle as a step in a technological revolution in the history of computation. As quantum processors scale up, each additional qubit doubles the amount of space complexity — the amount of memory space required to execute algorithms — for a classical computer to reliably simulate quantum circuits. The company hopes to see quantum computers bring real-world benefits across fields as this increase in space complexity moves us into a realm beyond the abilities of classical computers. While this revolution plays out, it also hopes to continue sharing its best quantum hardware with the community early and often. This approach allows IBM and its users to work together to understand how best to explore and develop these systems to achieve quantum advantage as soon as possible.

Eagle’s qubit count feat represents an important milestone on IBM Quantum Roadmap. Eagle demonstrates how IBM’s team is solving challenges across hardware and software to eventually realize a quantum computer capable of solving practical problems in fields from renewable energy to finance and more.

Source: Analytics Insight