Intel: Distracted by Horse Ridge, Engineers Take Another Detour

July 24, 2020

My hunch is that you did not read “Intel Introduces Horse Ridge to Enable Commercially Viable Quantum Computers.” You probably don’t care about some of the hurdles quantum computers face with or without Horse Ridge; for example, cooling, programming, and stability. That’s okay. The magic of the “quantum” horse thing was news only a sparse pasture below the ridge can appreciate. I have in my files one snippet from the PR output, however:

Horse Ridge is a highly integrated, mixed-signal SoC that brings the qubit controls into the quantum refrigerator — as close as possible to the qubits themselves. It effectively reduces the complexity of quantum control engineering from hundreds of cables running into and out of a refrigerator to a single, unified package operating near the quantum device.

Yep, the quantum refrigerator.

Now flash forward to “Intel’s 7nm Is Broken, Company Announces Delay Until 2022, 2023.” The write up explains:

Intel CEO Bob Swan said the company had identified a “defect mode” in its 7nm process that caused yield degradation issues. As a result, Intel has invested in “contingency plans,” which Swan later defined as including using third-party foundries.

Perhaps Intel will consider shifting its R&D focus to refrigeration units. Serving the quantum computing sector seems to be a way to pivot from a business in which Amazon Gravitons, AMD chips,  and Apple’s custom designed ARM silicon are making headway.

Is Intel’s future horse features. Ooops. I meant Horse Ridge. Is that a glue factory under construction on a site adjacent Intel’s new fabrication facility?

Stephen E Arnold, July 24, 2020


One Response to “Intel: Distracted by Horse Ridge, Engineers Take Another Detour”

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