CDS Lecture Series


Christopher Monroe
Bice Zorn Professor, Department of Physics
University of Maryland at College Park

Quantum Information Science

The twentieth century is commonly described as the information era, with the development of the digital computer following Turing's and Shannon's formal definitions of universal computation and information. Information technology soon followed, from vacuum tubes to solid state electronics and today's VLSI circuits. But there was another scientific revolution in the 20th century: quantum mechanics. This field emerged as an essential model of the behavior of atomic and subatomic matter, but it entailed radical foundations, such as inherent uncertainty and the essential role of the observer in quantum measurement. These strange features were largely treated as curiosities in much of the 20th century, and most scientists simply ignored them (with Einstein a notable exception). Now at the dawn of the 21st century, we are seeing a second quantum revolution, as quantum mechanics is being combined with information theory in the new field of quantum information science. But now, the bizarre features of quantum mechanics -- uncertainty, entanglement, and measurement -- are embraced in order to perform tasks that are impossible using conventional computers and potentially transform how we process and store information. This lecture will survey the new discipline of quantum information science, describing how it has shaped our view of quantum foundations, listing its potential applications and limitations, and summarizing state-of-the-art quantum hardware.

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