Quantum Information: Quo Vadis?


Starting as a fringe interest in physics, quantum information and quantum computing have now come to occupy a central role in the field, with ramifications extending into quantum optics, condensed matter, quantum chemistry, and even string theory and quantum gravity. Nevertheless the key challenges are still found in the ongoing effort to actually make quantum information processing systems, and to deal with the practical and theoretical problems facing this effort.

The Pacific North American coast has become a key locus for these activities, with many of the pioneering developments taking place in California, Washington, and British Columbia. One key purpose of this meeting is to bring together participants from this region, to assess where we are now, and to look to the future. Another is to bring together the experimental, theoretical, and hi-tech industrial communities. Finally, we wish to discuss some of the more fundamental questions underlying the field, reaching down to the foundations of quantum mechanics.

Some of the overlapping questions and problems that will be addressed in the meeting are:

  1. Technical Questions

    • Entanglement: how do we characterize multipartite entanglement, and how essential is it?
    • Algorithms: We only have a few – how can more be developed?
    • Adiabatic Quantum Computation: what can it do, and what can’t it do?
    • Quantum Ising systems: Right now central to the field – how well do we understand them?
    • Gate-based quantum computation: How feasible is it, and how do we get there?
    • Decoherence: What are the key decoherence mechanisms, and how can they be controlled? What about other sources of noise?
    • Error Correction: Do we believe the "threshold systems"? How can we make workable routines? What are the main sources of errors and how can we mitigate them?
    • What are the key challenges facing:
      • superconductor-based QIP?
      • Spin-based QIP?
      • Quantum optical QIP?
  2. Fundamental Questions

    • Macroscopic QM:
      • Will Quantum Mechanics work at the mesoscopic scale?
      • How can we test it?
      • How would a breakdown affect quantum computing?
    • Mechanism of Breakdown:
      • Can Gravity lead to a breakdown of QM?
      • If so, how would we see this experimentally?
      • What other mechanisms might cause a breakdown of QM?
    • Limits to Computation:
      • What limits exist to classical computation?
      • What limits exist to quantum computation?
The meeting will consist of research talks, a public lecture, extensive discussion sessions, and a panel discussion.