Hold your Horse Ridge: Intel’s scalable quantum control chip
The Horse Ridge cryogenic c...
US semiconductor giant Intel has unveiled a control chip which it says is a milestone towards commercial quantum computing.
The Horse Ridge cryogenic control chip is anticipated to speed up the development of quantum computers thanks to its ability to control multiple qubits (the quantum equivalent of a bit) at a time.
Jim Clarke, Intel’s director of Quantum Hardware, said in a press release: “While there has been a lot of emphasis on the qubits themselves, the ability to control many qubits at the same time had been a challenge for the industry. Intel recognized that quantum controls were an essential piece of the puzzle we needed to solve in order to develop a large-scale commercial quantum system. That’s why we are investing in quantum error correction and controls. With Horse Ridge, Intel has developed a scalable control system that will allow us to significantly speed up testing and realize the potential of quantum computing.”
The chip was developed in collaboration with QuTech, a partnership between Delft University and the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research and fabricated with existing in-house Intel processes. The potential of the chip comes from the fact that it bypasses existing, custom designed methods of controlling individual qubits, which lack the same potential for scale owing to their complexity.
The new control chip is able to operate in proximity to the qubits at cryogenic temperatures, hence being significantly more simple. Indeed, the chip takes its name from one of the coldest places in the state of Oregon.
Quantum computing is experiencing a burst of activity of late, with Google confirming the achievement of quantum supremacy (the point at which a quantum computer performs a task beyond the means of conventional computers) back in October. The advent of the technology poses questions owing to quantum computers’ anticipated capabilities in fields such as cryptography, where, due to their highly parallel nature, they can crack encryption methods that would take conventional computer aeons.
China Takes Additional Step to Control Big Tech’s Data
China’s new Data Security Law will take effect on September 1st, allowing the government major control over the collection, use, and transmission of data. Tech companies have grown exponentially in terms of market size and overall power, and the Chinese government has no interest in alternative power hubs—especially those that belong to private enterprise.
With its Thursday legislation, companies will face extravagant fines if they export data outside of China without authorisation. The Chinese government claims that this will create a legal framework and help companies from taking advantage of citizens, but according to analyst Ryan Fedasiuk from Georgetown University’s Centre for Security and Emerging Technology, “China’s push for data privacy...is yet another move to strengthen the role of the government and the party vis-à-vis tech companies.”
How Do Other Countries Approach Data Privacy?
- Europe: The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights assures EU citizens the right to data protection. The bloc’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), passed in May of 2018, put stringent restrictions on commercial data collection.
- Canada: 28 federal, provincial, and territorial laws govern consumer data privacy; DLA Piper ranks the country’s data protection legislation as heavy, in comparison to Russia (medium) and India (limited).
- The United States: As usual, the States doesn’t have a single comprehensive federal law for data privacy. Instead, its lawmakers have passed hundreds of local and state acts, many of which are seen by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
China, in contrast, thinks data should be a national asset and has written data collection into its five-year plan. Although its new legislation will help curtail private access to consumer data, the government may be the final beneficiary.
What Will China Do With the Data?
According to advisors, consumer data can mitigate financial crises and viral outbreaks. It can protect the interest of national security—no surprise—and help the government with criminal surveillance. Right now, Chinese regulators have summoned 13 major tech firms, including Tencent, JD.com, Meituan, and ByteDance, to meet with China’s central bank. Communist Party Chief President Xi Jinping can shut down any companies found violating the new privacy laws, as well as hit them with a fine of up to 10 million yuan—US$1.6mn.
How Will Laws Affect Foreign Firms?
Now, foreign firms must store data on Chinese soil, a practice that many companies protest will infringe on their proprietary data. So far, Tesla will comply: in late May, the electric car manufacturer promised to build more Chinese factories and keep the resulting information within Chinese borders. In fact, businesses hoping to start China-based businesses—such as Citigroup and BlackRock—will have to comply with the “data-localisation laws”.
The Chinese government has framed data as a critical source of intelligence for the party and central government. “You have the most sufficient data, then you can make the most objective and accurate analyses”, Mr Xi told Tencent’s founder, Mr Ma. “The...suggestions to the government in this regard are very valuable”.
Greater digital control is coming, that’s for sure. Mr Xi has named big data as an essential part of China’s economy, right up there with land and labour. “Whoever controls data will have the initiative”.