In the next advance toward “quantum computing,” microchip maker Intel unveiled its new 49 Qubit processing chip at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Rather than using the high-speed transfer of electronic packets of information, quantum computing uses elements of quantum mechanics to perform computation. This “superconductive” processing ability allows computers to complete more computations in a second than is currently possible with existing electronic circuitry. Therefore, a qubit, also known as a quantum bit, is a unit of quantum information, similar to a binary bit used in current computing technology.
In spite of current public relations mess regarding failed microprocessing chips, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich told a packed CES audience the company had successfully designed, fabricated, and delivered a working 49-qubit test chip called “Tangle Lake.” The company had debuted a 17-qubit processing microchip just two months ago.
Krzanich predicted that quantum computing will solve problems today’s best supercomputers would require months or years to resolve, such as drug development, financial modeling and climate forecasting. While quantum computing has the potential to solve problems conventional computers can’t handle, he said field of quantum computing is still just developing.
In a statement following the debut, Intel said quantum chips will need to reach the megaqubit range before they become “commercially relevant,” and despite a current pace of development that suggests such relevancy would be achieved by July of 2019, the industry is still at least five years away from making that kind of advance.
Most experts agree that once completed, quantum computing will likely lead to autonomous artificial intelligence.