Short Project Description:Over the last century, scientists have slowly progressed from observing quantum phenomena to controlling them. Effective control of quantum systems will be essential for continued development of information technology; as the sizes of computer components approaches the atomic scale, quantum technologies will be necessary for the storage and processing of information. However, quantum technologies can do much more than just allow us to miniaturize further: they allow us to exploit the quantum features of nature. The ability to exploit quantum mechanics opens up a whole new mode of computation that may allow computations previously thought infeasible or impossible. A dramatic example is the factorization of large numbers, which would crack most of modern-day cryptography widely believed that any device based on classical mechanics requires an exponential number of steps in order to crack these systems, devices exploiting quantum principles can (in theory) crack these systems in a very small number of steps.
Recent developments in the quantum theory of fault-tolerant error-correction suggest that the obstacles in implementing large-scale quantum computers are technological rather than fundamental. Scientists around the world are striving to overcome the great technological challenges to realizing quantum computers large enough and stable enough to implement computations such as the factoring algorithm. However, quantum physics does not forbid information security. To the contrary, the Uncertainty Principle guarantees that any eaves-dropping of quantum information will perturb the information, and this perturbation can be detected by the legitimate parties. This simple principle can be exploited to develop cryptographic protocols whose security lies not on any unproven mathematical assumptions (like the difficulty of factoring), but on the laws of physics. The impact of the laws of physics on the theory and practice of computing and communicating cannot be ignored.
The general objective is to develop novel systems and techniques for information processing, transmission, and security by exploiting the properties of quantum mechanical operations. A complementary objective is to increase our understanding of the limitations of what can be accomplished with quantum information. Quantum information processing is a field of study that requires expertise from a wide range of areas, including (but not limited to) algorithms and complexity, quantum mechanics, information theory, cryptography and communication theory.
Our research objectives can be divided into four projects:
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