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Intel has hit a “major breakthrough” in quantum computing

The CES 2018 keynote covered quantum computers, self-driving cars and a self-learning AI chip

Intel logo

Intel proved its credentials as a jack of all trades at CES 2018 during CEO Brian Krzanich's keynote speech last night. After leading with the news that the company will fix all Meltdown vulnerabilities by the end of the month, Krzanich launched into a far-reaching talk which covered driverless cars, self-learning AI chips and virtual reality.

But the main event was a "major breakthrough" in quantum computing, with the company announcing a 49-qubit quantum chip something Krzanich described as the next step to "quantum supremacy". The company, he said, is committed to forwarding the cause of quantum computing with a lab in the Netherlands dedicated to working on the quantum computers of tomorrow.

While there is no timeline details on the quantum chip codenamed Tangle Lake Krzanich was clear that this nascent technology could one day help solve the biggest problems humanity faces, taking minutes to solve problems that our current supercomputers take months or years to calculate, including drug development and climate modelling.

A little closer to the computers of today is another new processor: Loihi, an AI test chip. The neuromorphic chip is now fully functional and is apparently already performing simple object recognition in the labs. The plan is to allow third parties to use this self-learning AI chip for their own use cases over the next few years.

Then there are driverless cars a 100-strong test fleet, to be precise. The company's emergence in this area is no surprise, given it bought Mobileye, an autonomous car software firm, for $15 billion last year, but Intel seems to be making progress, demonstrating a car with 12 cameras and a 180-degree field of view, letting the vehicle "see" up to 300 metres ahead. Even if its own vehicles aren't a runaway success, Intel reported that two million vehicles from the likes of BMW, Nissan and Volkswagen will use technology from Mobileye throughout 2018 which makes last year's acquisition look like a shrewd one.

Elsewhere, Krzanich covered innovative VR initiatives triggered by the company's partnership for the upcoming Winter Olympics. Thirty events will be viewable from different angles both live and on demand, the company said, and it would be expanding the initiative to the NFL with cameras installed inside players' helmets. A partnership with Paramount Pictures will even see if this approach works for movies, with hundreds of cameras letting viewers "be the actor" or view the movie from any number of different angles.

You can watch the full keynote above.

Main image credit: Bigstock

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