- Intel announced a $50 million strategic investment in quantum computing.
- Future of computers belongs to quantum computing which will permit staying on Moore's Law of exponentially increasing computing performance.
- Other top tech companies are betting on quantum computing, but Intel is in a particularly good position.
- I feel Intel stock remains a solid and promising long-term investment.
Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) announced a collaboration with QuTech, the quantum institute of the Delft University of Technology, and the applied research institute TNO, both in The Netherlands, to accelerate advancements in quantum computing. Intel believes that quantum computing is a strategic technology and plans to invest US$50 million, and provide engineering resources and technical support.
Quantum computers encode information in "qubits" that, instead of being in definite zero or one states like classical bits, can be in weird quantum superpositions of zero and one states, and process information in ways that have no equivalent in classical computing by exploiting subtle quantum phenomena.
“By drawing on the special quality of quantum bits to be not only 1 and 0, but 1 and 0 simultaneously, a quantum computer is able to solve certain mathematical problems much faster," said QuTech scientist Leo DiCarlo in the Delft press release.
Computer companies are spending billions trying to stay on top of Moore’s Law - the exponential acceleration of computing performance first noticed by Intel founder Gordon Moore in 1965. "Moore's law" (Wikipedia) is the observation that, over the history of computing hardware, the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit has doubled approximately every two years. Future quantum computers are expected to permit staying on Moore's Law and tackle very complex problems such as calculating the properties of promising new materials, large-scale financial analysis, and molecular simulations for more effective drug development, much faster than today's computers.
"A fully functioning quantum computer is at least a dozen years away, but the practical and theoretical research efforts we're announcing today mark an important milestone in the journey to bring it closer to reality," said Mike Mayberry, Intel vice president and managing director of Intel Labs.
"Quantum computing is one of the more promising areas of long-term research we’ve been exploring in our labs, with some of the smartest engineers in the world. We believe it has the potential to augment the capabilities of tomorrow’s high performance computers," said Intel CEO Brian Krzanich in a special post on the promise of quantum computing. "Quantum computing holds the promise of solving complex problems that are practically insurmountable today, changing the world for the better."
Jim Clark, Manager of Interconnect Research at Intel, says that in one year, they want to better understand how to fabricate devices to build a better qubit, Popular Mechanics reports. In five years, they want an integrated circuit, a device capable of storing multiple qubits at once, allowing them to build smaller, more robust quantum machines. In 10 years time, the hope is to have a machine capable of large-scale quantum computing at a fraction of the size and a vast increase in computing power.
Of course, Intel isn't the only company to realize the breakthrough potential of quantum computing. Other top technology companies are entering into partnerships with universities and research laboratories for next-generation quantum computing systems.
Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) partnered with NASA to create the Quantum Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, which uses quantum computers manufactured by D-Wave Systems to explore the the potential of quantum computers to solve previously intractable problems, including quantum Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms.
Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) founded the USC-Lockheed Martin Quantum Computation Center (QCC) in partnership with the University of Southern California. The QCC uses quantum computers manufactured by D-Wave Systems to solve challenges ranging from designing lifesaving new drugs to rapidly debugging millions of lines of software code.
All these companies - Intel, Lockheed Martin, Google, and IBM - could be thinking of buying D-Wave, which recently announced a performance breakthrough that might bring practical quantum computers closer, and claim leadership in the emerging quantum computing sector, but D-Wave could be thinking about an IPO instead, The Wall Street Journal reported in January.
All the companies mentioned could - and probably will - be among the quantum computing leaders of the next decade, but Intel seems particularly well positioned due to its leading position in chip manufacturing besides computing algorithms and research. "Expertise in specialized electronics combined with advanced physics is required to move quantum computing closer to being a reality," said Mayberry. "Intel can help advance progress in this field through our leading manufacturing, electronics and architectural expertise," added Krzanich.
It seems evident that quantum computing will play an increasingly important role in the coming decades, and Intel is taking the right steps to be among the leaders of the quantum computing revolution. Therefore, Intel stock remains a solid and promising long-term investment.