From Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne [EPFL-École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne](CH): “Quantum computing-cold chips can control qubits”

From Svwiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne [EPFL-École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne](CH)


A cryogenic controller chip opens the door to solving the ‘wiring bottleneck’ and subsequently to realize a fully integrated, scalable quantum computer. A research from QuTech in the Netherlands, from Intel Corp and from EPFL professor Edoardo Charbon.

A specially designed chip to control qubits can operate at extremely low temperatures, and opens the door to solving the ‘wiring bottleneck’. Researchers and engineers from QuTech in the Netherlands and from Intel Corp., jointly designed and tested the cryogenic chip and made an important step towards a scalable quantum computer. Their results are published in the scientific journal Nature.

Each basic unit of a quantum computer, a qubit, is typically addressed individually by a single wire. ‘This stands in the way of a scalable quantum computer, since millions of qubits would require millions of wires’ explains lead investigator Lieven Vandersypen from QuTech. ‘This is called the ‘wiring bottleneck’. InEngineers at Intel and QuTech—a collaboration between Delft University of Technology and TNO, the Netherlands Organisation for applied scientific research—designed a special silicon-based integrated circuit able to withstand the cold (3 degrees Celsius above absolute zero) and also address qubits. The so-called ‘Horse Ridge’ chip is named after the coldest place in Oregon, the state where the Intel lab resides.

Intel Horse Ridge

Engineers at Intel and QuTech—a collaboration between Delft University of Technology [Technische Universiteit Delft](NL) and TNO, the Netherlands Organisation for applied scientific research—designed a special silicon-based integrated circuit able to withstand the cold (3 degrees Celsius above absolute zero) and also address qubits. The so-called ‘Horse Ridge’ chip is named after the coldest place in Oregon, the state where the Intel lab resides.

‘We exploited the same technology adopted for the conventional microprocessor, the CMOS technology. For Horse Ridge, we specifically used the Intel 22nm low-power FinFET technology.’ said co-lead investigator Edoardo Charbon, head of EPFL’s Advanced Quantum Architecture Laboratory. ‘As electronic devices operate very differently at cryogenic temperatures, we used special techniques in the chip design both to ensure the right operation and to drive qubits with high accuracy.’ Ultimately controller chip and qubits can be integrated on the same die (as they are all fabricated in silicon) or package, thus further relieving the wiring bottleneck.

High fidelity and good programmability

To assess the quality of the cryogenic Horse Ridge control chip it was compared with a classical room temperature controller. It turns out the gate fidelity of the system is very high (99.7%) and limited not by the controller but by the qubits themselves. That’s great news for the performance of the cryogenic control chip.

Next, the programmability of the controller was showcased using a two-qubit quantum algorithm. The Deutsch–Jozsa algorithm is one of the simplest algorithms that is much more efficient on a quantum computer than a traditional computer. This demonstrates the ability to program the control chip with arbitrary sequences of operations, and opens the way to on-chip implementation and a truly scalable quantum computer.

See the full article here .


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The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne [EPFL-École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne] (CH) is a research institute and university in Lausanne, Switzerland, that specializes in natural sciences and engineering. It is one of the two Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology, and it has three main missions: education, research and technology transfer.

The QS World University Rankings ranks EPFL (CH) 14th in the world across all fields in their 2020/2021 ranking, whereas Times Higher Education World University Rankings ranks EPFL(CH) as the world’s 19th best school for Engineering and Technology in 2020.

EPFL(CH) is located in the French-speaking part of Switzerland; the sister institution in the German-speaking part of Switzerland is the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ETH Zürich [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich) (CH). Associated with several specialized research institutes, the two universities form the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology Domain (ETH(CH) Domain) which is directly dependent on the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research. In connection with research and teaching activities, EPFL(CH) operates a nuclear reactor CROCUS; a Tokamak Fusion reactor; a Blue Gene/Q Supercomputer; and P3 bio-hazard facilities.

The roots of modern-day EPFL(CH) can be traced back to the foundation of a private school under the name École spéciale de Lausanne in 1853 at the initiative of Lois Rivier, a graduate of the École Centrale Paris (FR) and John Gay the then professor and rector of the Académie de Lausanne. At its inception it had only 11 students and the offices was located at Rue du Valentin in Lausanne. In 1869, it became the technical department of the public Académie de Lausanne. When the Académie was reorganised and acquired the status of a university in 1890, the technical faculty changed its name to École d’ingénieurs de l’Université de Lausanne. In 1946, it was renamed the École polytechnique de l’Université de Lausanne (EPUL). In 1969, the EPUL was separated from the rest of the University of Lausanne and became a federal institute under its current name. EPFL (CH), like ETH Zürich (CH), is thus directly controlled by the Swiss federal government. In contrast, all other universities in Switzerland are controlled by their respective cantonal governments. Following the nomination of Patrick Aebischer as president in 2000, EPFL (CH) has started to develop into the field of life sciences. It absorbed the Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research (ISREC) in 2008.

In 1946, there were 360 students. In 1969, EPFL(CH) had 1,400 students and 55 professors. In the past two decades the university has grown rapidly and as of 2012 roughly 14,000 people study or work on campus, about 9,300 of these being Bachelor, Master or PhD students. The environment at modern day EPFL(CH) is highly international with the school attracting students and researchers from all over the world. More than 125 countries are represented on the campus and the university has two official languages, French and English.


EPFL is organized into eight schools, themselves formed of institutes that group research units (laboratories or chairs) around common themes:

School of Basic Sciences (SB, Jan S. Hesthaven)

Institute of Mathematics (MATH, Victor Panaretos)
Institute of Chemical Sciences and Engineering (ISIC, Emsley Lyndon)
Institute of Physics (IPHYS, Harald Brune)
European Centre of Atomic and Molecular Computations (CECAM, Ignacio Pagonabarraga Mora)
Bernoulli Center (CIB, Nicolas Monod)
Biomedical Imaging Research Center (CIBM, Rolf Gruetter)
Interdisciplinary Center for Electron Microscopy (CIME, Cécile Hébert)
Max Planck-EPFL Centre for Molecular Nanosciences and Technology (CMNT, Thomas Rizzo)
Swiss Plasma Center (SPC, Ambrogio Fasoli)
Laboratory of Astrophysics (LASTRO, Jean-Paul Kneib)

School of Engineering (STI, Ali Sayed)

Institute of Electrical Engineering (IEL, Giovanni De Micheli)
Institute of Mechanical Engineering (IGM, Thomas Gmür)
Institute of Materials (IMX, Michaud Véronique)
Institute of Microengineering (IMT, Olivier Martin)
Institute of Bioengineering (IBI, Matthias Lütolf)

School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering (ENAC, Claudia R. Binder)

Institute of Architecture (IA, Luca Ortelli)
Civil Engineering Institute (IIC, Eugen Brühwiler)
Institute of Urban and Regional Sciences (INTER, Philippe Thalmann)
Environmental Engineering Institute (IIE, David Andrew Barry)

School of Computer and Communication Sciences (IC, James Larus)

Algorithms & Theoretical Computer Science
Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning
Computational Biology
Computer Architecture & Integrated Systems
Data Management & Information Retrieval
Graphics & Vision
Human-Computer Interaction
Information & Communication Theory
Programming Languages & Formal Methods
Security & Cryptography
Signal & Image Processing

School of Life Sciences (SV, Gisou van der Goot)

Bachelor-Master Teaching Section in Life Sciences and Technologies (SSV)
Brain Mind Institute (BMI, Carmen Sandi)
Institute of Bioengineering (IBI, Melody Swartz)
Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research (ISREC, Douglas Hanahan)
Global Health Institute (GHI, Bruno Lemaitre)
Ten Technology Platforms & Core Facilities (PTECH)
Center for Phenogenomics (CPG)
NCCR Synaptic Bases of Mental Diseases (NCCR-SYNAPSY)

College of Management of Technology (CDM)

Swiss Finance Institute at EPFL (CDM-SFI, Damir Filipovic)
Section of Management of Technology and Entrepreneurship (CDM-PMTE, Daniel Kuhn)
Institute of Technology and Public Policy (CDM-ITPP, Matthias Finger)
Institute of Management of Technology and Entrepreneurship (CDM-MTEI, Ralf Seifert)
Section of Financial Engineering (CDM-IF, Julien Hugonnier)

College of Humanities (CDH, Thomas David)

Human and social sciences teaching program (CDH-SHS, Thomas David)

EPFL Middle East (EME, Dr. Franco Vigliotti)[62]

Section of Energy Management and Sustainability (MES, Prof. Maher Kayal)

In addition to the eight schools there are seven closely related institutions

Swiss Cancer Centre
Center for Biomedical Imaging (CIBM)
Centre for Advanced Modelling Science (CADMOS)
École cantonale d’art de Lausanne (ECAL)
Campus Biotech
Wyss Center for Bio- and Neuro-engineering
Swiss National Supercomputing Centre