ASSESSMENT OF CURRENT RESULTS AND OUTLOOK ON FUTURE EFFORTS
QUANTUM INFORMATION SCIENCE THEORY
As shown in the examples above, quantum information science is a broad interdisciplinary effort whose key aim is to provide a theoretical basis for the control and exploitation of nature at the level of individual quanta. European research has played a leading role in its development and has established a strong set of world leading centers. The field is thriving and strongly expanding both by continuing enhancement of efforts in existing sub-areas but also through the innovation of new research directions.
A key area is the development of new approaches towards the realization of quantum information processing, both at the device dependent and independent level, as well as the concrete exploration of existing experiments that aim towards the practical implementation of quantum information processing. European researchers have made pioneering contributions to this area both on the theoretical level and, often in close collaboration, also experimentally. Major centers exist in various European countries (see below). These centers form the cores of a number of EU networks providing a level of interconnection on the European level.
Quantum information science has emerged from groundbreaking purely theoretical work and its major breakthroughs so far have generally been theory driven. This abstract work addresses entanglement theory, quantum algorithms, quantum communication and the applications of QIS to other fields such as condensed matter physics, field theory and the solution of problems in classical information theory by quantum methods. Researchers involve physicists, mathematicians, computer scientists and engineers demonstrating its strongly interdisciplinary character. Europe has made groundbreaking contributions to this area that has led the development of the field as a whole. It should be noted that the research landscape in these theoretical areas is still fluid and novel directions continue to emerge. A particular growth area is the application of the ideas emerging in QIS to other areas of physics, mathematics and computer science, often providing entirely new problem solving techniques to existing areas. Intuitively this is due to the ability to access the full quantum mechanical state space rather than the much smaller classical state space which permits novel techniques to attack previously unsolved problems. Many new insights can be expected from this approach that will drive science forward in many areas.
Major centers exist in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Netherlands, Poland, Spain, UK, and Switzerland. They have been linked through various EU project and the EU Network of Excellence QUIPROCONE as well as over the last five years through a European Science Foundation program on QIS addressing the need for this type of research for strong interconnections, the ability for informal collaborative visits to facilitate exchange of ideas. This is of particular importance in those aspects of theoretical research that are strongly interdisciplinary and where no single country possesses a critical mass of research.
Theoretical research in QIS in Europe has prospered through the efficient support for collaboration by the European Union, the European Science Foundation and the national funding bodies. In the face of growing international competition from North America, Japan and Australia it will be essential that flexible support compatible with innovative work will continue to be provided