For many years, I have been shouting into the wind, trying to use this blog to cajole Intel corporation to join the quantum space race. Quantum computing is the natural next stage in their computer chip journey so working on it is the logical thing for them to do.
See the following two earlier blog posts of mine, where I called Intel the reluctant natural of quantum computing and I rebuked them for goofing off in the QC classroom:
But at last, my prayers have been answered. Intel announced a few days ago that it will be investing $50M over ten years in a Dutch company called QuTech. QuTech is trying to build an anyonic quantum computer of a type that I like to call the Kitaev quantum computer, because it was invented by Alexei Kitaev.
Welcome back, Intel, our prodigal son. The bells of all the QC churches of the world are ringing to welcome you:
Here are two paintings commissioned to commemorate this grand occasion:
One cannot over-estimate the importance of this news to quantum computing. It’s true that $50M is pocket change for Intel, a corporation that had a revenue of $56B in 2014 and that has 100K employees. A company that is used to spending on the order of $5B on a single microchip fab. But the $50M figure doesn’t matter much. What is more important is that they have finally taken the plunge into quantum space, and that they have committed their considerable manpower and engineering expertise to help finish building the Kitaev QC. And that expertise of theirs is ideally suited for the task at hand. And Intel is not a procrastinator or faker like most academics. When Intel promises, it delivers.
Intel, be forewarned: once in, in forever. There is no known cure for quantum mechanics addiction.
Intel is the 800 pound gorilla of the microchip world. Since they built the world’s first commercial microprocessor chip in 1971, they have been one of the biggest developers and manufacturers of chips for personal computers. So here is a photo of Tarzan welcoming Intel back
and a photo of Jane Goodall welcoming Intel back:
The Intel $50M news follows on the heels of another big investment in QuTech. Indeed, 3 months ago the news media reported that QuTech has been promised $150M over ten years by the Dutch government. And Microsoft has already been investing in QuTech since 2010 or earlier. So this QuTech is a strange socialist monster, a private multinational corporation that is subsidized by the Dutch state and has very close ties to TU (Technical Univ.) Delft, another Dutch private/public hybrid. (Okay, I was joking with the above QuTech link. Here is a link to the true Dutch QuTech)