Overview: In collaboration with the NIST Physics Laboratory, this project develops information representations and computing machines that
take advantage of quantum effects, such as, superposition and entanglement, which could enable exponential computational work to be done in one operation.
As a discipline, Quantum Information has been a joint effort of Physicists and Computer Scientists for some time. Computer Scientists contribute their knowledge in the areas of
Computation Theory, Automata Theory, and Abstract Algebra, as well as, other theoretical areas in Computer Science. For example, in 1996, Lou Grover, Computer Scientist at AT&T's Bell
Labs, discovered a quantum algorithm that searches an unsorted list of N items in only square root of N steps. In
1994, Peter Shor, Computer Scientist and Mathematician discovered a quantum algorithm that efficiently factors large numbers
Industry Need Addressed: The goal of Quantum Information is to develop information representations and computing machines
that take advantage of quantum effects, such as, superposition which could enable exponential computational work to be done in one operation. In the long
term, Quantum Information promises computing machines of unprecedented computational power and small size.
NIST/ITL Approach: Dr. Black and his associates regularly
attend the weekly Physics Lab Quantum Computing seminars. They are
developing Quantum Compiling and Simulation techniques and software.
ITL is participating with Dr. Carl Williams of
the Physics Lab to develop proposals. One ITL objective is the optimization of fault-tolerant computational
algorithms for real-world quantum architectures, in particular those being developed within the PL. As described
above, in order to make quantum computing practical, tailored
approaches to optimization and fault tolerance are needed. Proposed
quantum error correction schemes must be tailored for the types of
faults actually encountered. ITL will devise methods for applying
fault tolerance, incorporating error correction schemes, assigning
variable states and locations, and scheduling computations that can be
applied to the quantum computing architecture being developed within
Another ITL objective is the exploration of authentication protocols relying on fundamental physical laws for security.
Quantum mechanics also allows for vast improvements in communications cryptography that are not possible using conventional electronics.
ITL will explore new authentication protocols that take advantage of quantum
properties, and, if feasible, will attempt to implement them with the single photon methods being developed in the PL. This implementation will provide valuable experience in the practical
aspects of this important new communications technology, and may lead to commercial products. Experience gained
will help ITL be ready as quantum cryptography products enter the marketplace.
Impact: Dr. Black was invited to present the Basic Concepts in the Theory
of Computation to NIST Physicists. Dr. Black and Dr. Alan Migdall of the
Physics Lab have been awarded ATP Intramural funding. Dr. Black, Rick
Kuhn, and Dr. Williams received an Outstanding Author for their
introductory Quantum Computing and Communications. ITL and the
Physics Lab have received DARPA funding.