Quantum Information Science (QIS) builds on quantum mechanics and information theory to explore the fundamental limits for computation, communication, and measurement. Advantages and protocols for measuring signals with quantum systems, i.e., quantum sensing, and novel solutions for quantum computing and quantum networking are topics investigated in QIS.
The beginning of research into QIS can be traced to theoretical phycisist Richard Feynman, Ph.D. In 1982 he proposed that computers that take advantage of quantum mechanical principles may have certain advantages over classical computers. Since then, researchers have proposed or demonstrated various methods of using quantum information to achieve results that cannot be obtained with classical physics. One of the most striking proposals is the quantum computer itself.
Using an algorithm developed by MIT professor of applied mathematics, Peter Shor, to find prime factors of large numbers, quantum computers can, in principle, defeat current cryptography techniques. Although practical quantum computers currently do not exist, work is under way in many countries to create such a computer. Furthermore, current classically encrypted information can be stored for now and kept until decryption by quantum computers someday becomes possible.
The United States has made American leadership in QIS a critical priority for ensuring our Nation’s long-term economic prosperity and national security. Harnessing the novel properties of quantum physics has the potential to yield transformative new technologies, such as quantum computers, quantum sensors, and quantum networks.
As laid out in a report by the National Science and Technology Council “A National Strategic Overview for Quantum Information Science,” the national strategy for ensuring continued leadership in QIS recruitment efforts that span across six policy areas. These include science, workforce, infrastructure, industry, economic and national security, and international cooperation.
With input from the QIS R&D community, the The National Quantum Coordination Office identified eight “Quantum Frontier” areas of focus:
- Expanding Opportunities for Quantum Technologies to Benefit Society
- Building the Discipline of Quantum Engineering
- Targeting Materials Science for Quantum Technologies
- Exploring Quantum Mechanics through Quantum Simulations
- Harnessing Quantum Information Technology for Precision Measurements
- Generating and Distributing Quantum Entanglement for New Applications
- Characterizing and Mitigating Quantum Errors
- Understanding the Universe through Quantum Information
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