SEEQC, a quantum computing start-up based in New York, announced on Wednesday that it has created a digital chip that can function with quantum processors that are frequently in cryogenic chambers at temperatures colder than space.
Quantum computers, which are built on the principles of quantum physics, have the potential to perform some calculations millions of times more quickly than the most potent supercomputer available right now.
One difficulty is the need to frequently store quantum processors with quantum bits, or qubits, at extremely low temperatures close to zero Kelvin, or -273.15 degrees Celsius. Classical computers, on the other hand, run at temperatures that are more tolerable.
But since information from quantum processors is measured in wave form and needs to be converted into ones and zeros for classical computers to control and access the qubits, the two must be paired.
Today’s quantum processor is wired to classical computers that are operating at room temperature, but the temperature change can affect performance and lead to other problems. This is also how SEEQC constructed its quantum computer, which it is now attempting to modify using new chips.
According to John Levy, co-founder and CEO of SEEQC, scaling up these early prototype designs in a brute force manner is insufficient if you’re trying to build a data center.
The first chip, which was unveiled on Wednesday, is placed directly below the quantum processor and manages the qubits while reading out the results.
There will be at least two additional chips in the cryogenic chamber that are still in the development stage. These could process the data further and make it ready for quantum computing.
As each cryogenic chamber could support a greater number of qubits, the technology might make it simpler to construct more potent quantum computers, according to Levy. Many believe that thousands or even a million qubits may be required to build a quantum computer with enough processing power to run useful algorithms. Today’s superconducting quantum computers have hundreds of qubits.
Levy said that transistors are not used in the fabrication of the SEEQC digital chips, which are made using silicon wafers at the company’s Elmsford facility.
Including LG Tech Ventures and Merck’s M Ventures, SEEQC has raised a total of $30 million since its founding in 2018.
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