A hot topic and rapidly growing research field in science and technology is in the broad area of Quantum Information (QI). Foundational work in QI is being done in theoretical physics, math and computer science, with leading experimental efforts in atomic, condensed matter, and low temperature physics.
The world-wide ground swell of research activity in QI is driven in part by promise of unique capabilities of quantum computing, quantum-secure information and classical code breaking. However, the Quantum Information revolution is truly much broader than quantum computing. New ideas combined with experimental progress may soon enable quantum control and physical measurements clarifying the fundamental nature of materials and molecules, and of the “information” itself, e.g. near the event horizon of black holes.
The enthusiasm for QI is obvious, with major government programs focused on the basic science, QI tools and technologies. Several agencies have ongoing and growing programs, or are planning for new basic research directions in Quantum Information, including NSF, DoD, security agencies, and DoE. These new trends in research are evidenced by some recent events: e.g. 475 M£ invested in the UK specifically focused on quantum technology hubs and education (http://uknqt.epsrc.ac.uk/); high tech industry hiring leaders in QI away from major universities (e.g. Y. Yamamoto from Stanford to Riken-Japan, J. Martinez from UCSB to Google); and the Nobel Prize in physics in 2012.
Stanford has several faculty members working on various aspects of QI and quantum control, and there is strong support for growth in those research areas.