Intel has reached two milestones in its efforts to research and develop future computing technologies including quantum and neuromorphic computing.During his keynote address at CES, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich announced the successful design, fabrication and delivery of a 49-qubit superconducting quantum test chip, with the added promise of neuromorphic computing soon.

The digitisation of nearly everything is creating an explosion of both structured and unstructured data as well as the desire to collect, analyze and act on it. This is driving exponential demand for compute performance.

Two months after delivery of a 17-qubit superconducting test chip, Intel has now unveiled “Tangle Lake,” a 49-qubit superconducting quantum test chip. The chip is named after a chain of lakes in Alaska, a nod to the extreme cold temperatures and the entangled state that quantum bits (or qubits) require to function.

Tangle Lake represents progress toward Intel’s goal of developing of a complete quantum computing system – from architecture to algorithms to control electronics. Achieving a 49-qubit test chip is an important milestone because it will allow researchers to assess and improve error correction techniques and simulate computational problems.

In his keynote, Krzanich predicted that quantum computing will solve problems that today might take our best supercomputers 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, the field is still nascent.

“In the quest to deliver a commercially viable quantum computing system, it’s anyone’s game,” says Mike Mayberry, corporate vice president and managing director of Intel Labs. “We expect it will be five to seven years before the industry gets to tackling engineering-scale problems, and it will likely require 1-million or more qubits to achieve commercial relevance.”

Krzanich also showcased Intel’s research into neuromorphic computing – a new computing paradigm inspired by how the brain works that could unlock exponential gains in performance and power efficiency for the future of artificial intelligence.

Intel Labs has developed a neuromorphic research chip, code-named “Loihi,”which includes digital circuits that mimic the brain’s basic operation. Loihi combines training and inference on a single chip with the goal of making machine learning more power efficient.

“This has been a major research effort by Intel and today we have a fully functioning neuromorphic research chip,” Krzanich said. “This incredible technology adds to the breadth of AI solutions that Intel is developing.”

Neuromorphic chips could ultimately be used anywhere real-world data needs to be processed in evolving real-time environments. For example, these chips could enable smarter security cameras and smart-city infrastructure designed for real-time communication with autonomous vehicles.

In the first half of this year, Intel plans to share the Loihi test chip with leading university and research institutions while applying it to more complex data sets and problems.

Krzanich also used the keynote to highlight how data is transforming the world around us and driving the next great wave of technology innovation, from autonomous driving to artificial intelligence (AI) to virtual reality (VR) and other forms of immersive media.

He unveiled Intel’s first autonomous vehicle in its 100-car test fleet; disclosed that BMW, Nissan, and Volkswagen are moving their Mobileye-based mapping design wins to actual deployments; and announced new collaborations with SAIC Motor and NavInfo to xtend crowdsourced map building to China.

Krzanich announced a partnership with Ferrari* North America to use Intel’s AI technologies to apply data from the racetrack to enhance the experience for fans and drivers.

In immersive media, he introduced the newly established Intel Studios and announced Paramount Pictures* will be the first major Hollywood studio to explore this technology in tandem with Intel to see where this will lead for the next generation of visual storytelling.

“Data is going to introduce social and economic changes that we see perhaps once or twice in a century,” Krzanich says. “We not only find data everywhere today, but it will be the creative force behind the innovations of the future. Data is going to redefine how we experience life – in our work, in our homes, how we travel, and how we enjoy sports and entertainment.”

Krzanich disclosed details for the company’s new automated driving platform, which combines automotive-grade Intel Atom processors with Mobileye EyeQ5 chips to deliver a platform with industry-leading scalability and versatility for L3 (Level 3) to L5 (Level 5) autonomous driving.

He also demonstrated the Volocopter, a fully electric, vertical takeoff and landing aircraft designed for passenger transport. The Intel Flight Control Technology used in the Volocopter is based on the intelligence found in the Intel Falcon 8+ drone used for inspection, surveying and mapping.

Addressing artificial intelligence, Krzanich showcased how companies are using Intel’s technology to transform their businesses through AI.

He announced Intel is partnering with Ferrari North America to bring the power of AI to the Ferrari Challenge North America Series that will take place on six courses in the US this year.

Krzanich discussed how data can transform other everyday experiences, such as entertainment and media. He announced the debut of Intel Studios, a new studio dedicated to the production of large-scale, volumetric content – using Intel True View technology – that will create new forms of visual storytelling with and without VR.

In sports, Krzanich announced that Intel will enable the largest scale virtual reality event to date with the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 using Intel True VR technology. Intel, together with the official Rights Holding Broadcasters, will capture a record 30 Olympic events, with both live and video-on-demand content available. This marks the first-ever live virtual reality broadcast of the Olympic Winter Games and will be available in the U.S. via a forthcoming NBC Sports VR app.

Krzanich also showcased how Intel is helping bring the future of 5G to the Olympics Winter Games to enable other new realistic, immersive and responsive sports and entertainment experiences with VR and 360-degree video.


Picture; Brian Krzanich, CEO of Intel, displays “Tangle Lake,” a 49-qubit superconducting quantum test chip, at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) preshow keynote.