NSF logo                                                                                                                      Darpa logo

Quantum Information Science

Short Course in Innsbruck, Austria

A three-day short course designed to encourage recruitment of post-doctorates into the field of Quantum Information Science (QIS) was held May 29-31, 2002 at the Hotel Europa Tyrol in Innsbruck, Austria.

Topics discussed included:

Faculty members:
Professor David D. Awschalom (co-chair)
Department of Physics
University of California
Santa Barbara, California

Professor Daniel Loss (co-chair)
Department of Physics and Astronomy
University of Basel
Basel, Switzerland

Professor Dik Bouwmeester
Department of Physics &
Center for Spintronics and Quantum Computation
University of California
Santa Barbara, California

Professor Hans Briegel
Theoretische Physik
München, Germany

Professor Artur Ekert
Centre for Quantum Computation
Clarendon Laboratory
University of Oxford
Oxford, United Kingdom

Dr. Mark Friesen
Materials Science and Engineering
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Madison, Wisconsin

Professor Jeffrey Kimble
Norman Bridge Laboratory of Physics
California Institute of Technology
Pasadena, California

Professor Leo Kouwenhoven
Department of Applied Physics
Delft University
Delft, The Netherlands

Professor Jeremy Levy
Department of Physics and Astronomy
University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Professor James Lukens
Department of Physics & Astronomy
SUNY at Stony Brook
Stony Brook, New York

Professor Ferdinand Schmidt-Kaler
Institut für Experimentalphysik
Universität Innsbruck
Innsbruck, Austria

Professor Umesh Vazirani
Computer Science Division
University of California
Berkeley, California

Professor Peter Zoller
Institute of Theoretical Physics
Universität Innsbruck
Innsbruck, Austria


Quantum information science (QIS) is a new field of science and technology, combining and drawing on the disciplines of physical science, mathematics, computer science, and engineering. Its aim is to understand how certain fundamental principles of physics discovered early in the 20th century can be harnessed to dramatically improve the acquisition, transmission, and processing of information. The exciting scientific opportunities offered by QIS are attracting the interest of a growing community of scientists and technologists, and are promoting unprecedented interactions across traditional disciplinary boundaries. Advances in QIS may become increasingly critical to our national competitiveness in information technology during the coming century. QIS also opens the door to empirical investigations of basic issues in the foundations of physics, which might well have technological implications beyond what we can even imagine today.

It has long been known that atoms and other tiny objects obey laws of quantum physics that in many respects defy common sense. Until recently, such quantum effects have mostly been seen as a nuisance, causing small devices to be less reliable and more error-prone than their larger cousins. Now researchers in several disciplines have begun to learn how to exploit quantum effects to perform important and otherwise impossible information-processing tasks. A quantum computer, if one can be built, could perform some computations that would take longer than the age of the universe on today's supercomputers. The way in which quantum effects speed up computation represents the potential for a qualitative improvement, like the improvement one gets from calculating with decimals instead of Roman numerals. For the first time, the physical form of information has a qualitative rather than merely a quantitative bearing on how efficiently the information can be processed, and the things that can be done with it.

Experts in the field agree that the bottleneck limiting progress in QIS is the limited number of post-doctoral fellows now conducting research. Thus the primary purpose of the Innsbruck short course was to encourage recruitment of post-docs into the field. The course was organized by the World Technology Evaluation Center of Baltimore, Maryland, USA and is supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

Questions about this short course should be directed to Stephen Gould at sgould@wtec.org

This workshop was sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) of the U.S. government under grants from the NSF (ECS-0110356) and the Office of Naval Research (N00014-01-1-0806) awarded to the World Technology Evaluation Center, Inc.