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IBM builds super-fridge for quantum computers


Quantum computers need low temperatures to operate. IBM is getting ready for the quantum computing era by building a super-fridge.

The super-fridge, dubbed Goldeneye, is a proof-of-concept for a dilution refrigerator, capable of cooling "future generations of quantum experiments."

IBM said the fridge might not be slated for use with any of the quantum processors the company is developing today. Still, building it taught researchers "important lessons on how to overcome these challenges."

The super-fridge can cool a volume larger than three home kitchen refrigerators to temperatures colder than outer space.

IBM has successfully cooled it to operating temperature (~25 mK or -273.1°C) and wired a quantum processor inside.

"Most importantly, it works. After just three years from project inception to our recent 25 mK milestone, we were able to perform one final characterization exercise: we put a qubit chip inside," IBM said.

Goldeneye will soon be moved to IBM Quantum Computation Center in Poughkeepsie, New York, for further testing to develop the future cooling needs for quantum data centers.

"Despite its size, Goldeneye is efficient. It requires less space than present-day, large-scale dilution refrigerators in order to accommodate an equivalent amount of quantum hardware. It would require 10 times the lab space to deploy equivalent hardware in today's state-of-the-art fridges," IBM explained.

IBM can't say if the fridges used to cool future quantum computers will be this large. However, having access to Goldeneye will allow it to consider scaling up its quantum processors beyond 2025, the company said.

Last November, IBM announced its new 127-quantum bit (qubit) 'Eagle' processor and plans to build a 4,000-qubit machine by 2025.


More from Cybernews about quantum computing:

Baidu reveals its first quantum computer

Quantum computing in warfare: sensing the enemy

The existential threat of quantum computing – interview

NIST names four post-quantum cryptography algorithms

Post-quantum encryption algorithms under rigorous scrutiny

Post-quantum cryptography is nearly here. Why the rush?

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