Intel will soon start shipping its 12-qubit quantum processor

It is also dropping the 'i' from its processor names to highlight Intel branding.
Ameya Paleja
The Tunnel Falls quantum processor from Intel
The Tunnel Falls quantum processor from Intel


U.S. chipmaker Intel has some big news to share with the technology world. Its 12-qubit quantum processor is now ready to be shipped to customers, much before its competitors can. The quantum processor is being sent to a few research laboratories in the U.S., Ars Technica reported.

Intel has been facing the heat for the past few months as companies have either preferred Nvidia for artificial intelligence (AI) needs or chosen to go with their homegrown chip designs for their upcoming products.

Pressure has also been building after competitors like IBM are pushing the limits on quantum computing. Earlier this week, Interesting Engineering reported how IBM's quantum computer beat a supercomputer at complex math. Amidst all this, Intel has been struggling to assert its prominence, and the news of its quantum processor could provide the company with a much-needed boost.

Intel's quantum processor

Intel's quantum offering has been dubbed Tunnel Falls, much like its other processors named after water bodies. Unlike its competitors, Intel has been working to build silicon-based qubits. In its opinion, this helps it facilitate a transition from silicon chip to quantum chip in the future with the least effort possible.

Intel's qubits are, therefore, small quantum dots that can capture individual electrons and store information. This makes Intel's job a lot tougher since it has to focus on getting the hardware and the software right for its quantum processor.

By shipping its quantum processors to research laboratories, Intel hopes to get some more hands and brains to work on what it takes to get its quantum processors to work for everybody.

Currently, the processor needs a dilution refrigeration system to get temperatures down to absolute zero degrees before it can begin work. Intel's partnership with research laboratories is seeking remedies for such real-world problems of quantum computers. At the same time, the company uses its fabrication expertise to build better quantum chips with more qubits at par with its competitors.

Dropping the 'i' to gain visibility

The Santa Clara, California-based company is also working on its branding to remain visible amidst the cloud of chipmakers that have sprung up over the years. In a recent move, Intel has decided to drop the 'i'' in its processor's nomenclature and simply call them Core3/5/7/9 in the future.

Intel will soon start shipping its 12-qubit quantum processor
Intel's new branding for its processors

This is being done to make it difficult for people to shorten the processor name, company executives told The Verge. Instead, users will have to call them Core 3 or Core 5 processors in the near future, allowing the company to differentiate its latest flagship chips that will also carry the Ultra branding.

Intel has surely made life a bit more complicated for those keen on knowing the generation of the processor they are investing in. Users will have to dig deep to see if they buy devices with the latest chips or some leftover inventory from the previous year.

Until the quantum range of processors becomes available, there is only Intel, Core, and Core Ultra ranges for die-hard users. Intel says tiering within these ranges will continue in the future as well.

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