Intel invests $50 million in quantum computing effort

Intel is the latest technology giant to invest in quantum computing research. Quantum computing, years away from commercialization, is supposed to be a huge leap forward.

Intel said Thursday that it will invest $50 million and provide engineering resources to the Delft University of Technology and TNO, the Dutch Organisation for Applied Research, in an effort to advance quantum computing.

Quantum computing promises multiple breakthrough and the possibility of new applications. Quantum computers use quantum bits, or qubits, which can exist in multiple states and operate in parallel. Quantum computers are expected to replace the ones powered by transistors and binary digits today.

Intel's investment could popularize the notion of quantum computing, which is years from going commercial. IBM has been among the largest tech players in the quantum computer space. IBM is investing billions of dollars in research on developing processors that could power quantum computers. See: IBM claims another step toward quantum computing | IBM to invest $3 billion in next-gen, '7nm and beyond' chips

Other entities ranging from Google to NASA are also chasing quantum computing.

The chip giant said it can contribute manufacturing and architecture knowhow to quantum computing research.

Brian Krzanich, CEO of Intel, said in a blog post:

Quantum computing is promising, but there are significant challenges to overcome. It is a subatomic scenario that requires suspending conventional wisdom around basic physics, where an electron can actually be two places at once, spinning clockwise and counterclockwise at the same time.

This ambiguity is both promising and enormously complex.... and of course, an incredibly exciting challenge to anyone who loves physics, like me. How do we connect thousands of quantum bits, or qubits, together? How can we control them? How can we reliably fabricate, connect and control many more qubits? Even measuring qubit signals is going to require an entirely new class of low temperature electronics that don't exist today.

For Intel, the bet on quantum computer is a way to participate in the future and keep the company relevant. Krzanich said the tech industry will have to rally around quantum computing for the engineering effort to develop.