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What's the research about in the field of Quantum Information?

  1. Oct 5, 2011 #1


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    I'm a graduate student, and now in the second year at graduate school i'm going to have to work on a research project on some field.
    I want to specialize in theoretical quantum information. My main motivation is that this field studies, in fact, quantum mechanics and is actually building and investigating its foundation.

    The problem is... That at my university there are no proffessors that are completely specialized in the field of quantum information science. I have just found one, who is great at QFT, but is working a little on quantum information (as a hobby i would say).
    The problem is that according to what he told me, it seems that the research going on in quantum information science, is only on quantum computation and quantum cryptography!

    That's my problem. I dont care about making fast algorithms. Perhaps i would care a little about cryptography, but for now lets just say that i dont like either.

    Can any of you, who has done a graduate thesis or phd or is researcher on theoretical quantum information, tell me what other research areas are there in this field? I cant believe that its only about algorithms and cryptography! There must be some research on more basic things, that my professor isnt aware of, not just on applications of quantum information!

    I reallllyyyy need your help and your ideas!
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  3. Oct 6, 2011 #2


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    It would be helpful if you described what you mean by "quantum information". When people (including me) talk about QIP (quantum information processing) they generally refer to work on qubits (and QC), some applications of coherent states (usually in optics) and cryptography (including things like single photon generation and state tomography). This is just the name of the field. I've never heard anyone use QIP to mean foundations of QM.

    Note that this is not all about quantum computing etc, there are also potential QIP applications in for example metrology. However, most of the work done in QIP is on at least potential applications, not fundamental physics.
  4. Oct 6, 2011 #3


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    JK423, it seems that you are not really interested about quantum information per se, but about quantum foundations from an informational point of view.

    There are people who perform such a research, but not many. Here are some examples of that kind of research papers
  5. Oct 6, 2011 #4

    Physics Monkey

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    Perhaps this is not what you had in mind, but for my money, one very interesting possibility is the combination of quantum information theory with quantum many-body physics.

    There are very many foundational issues in quantum many-body physics that have benefited from a recent influx of ideas from quantum information. To put it bluntly, we don't really know how to do quantum many-body physics in a general way. For example, the formal many-body Hilbert space is an illusion: most of the states could not be prepared in the lifetime of the universe starting from a product state. Hence as far as nature is concerned, these states are unphysical. Thus there are deep issues associated with space of physical states, the role of quantum entanglement, etc. .... all areas where a quantum information perspective might be useful.

    These kinds of questions inform my own research, although I approach more from the many-body theory side. Of course, you would have to branch out beyond pure information theory if this kind of interdisciplinary topic excited you, but I personally find it worth the effort.
  6. Oct 6, 2011 #5


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    To be honest, what i really want is to study QM in its foundation, and by foundations i dont only mean intepretations.
    But, these years are rough, financially speaking, so i would like to get involved with something that would guarantee finance plus i will be able to also study what i want in parallel. And of what i have thought, QIT is the best choice, since it's the future (or i hope it will be!)

    To give you a taste of what i'd like to do, i found a paper (phd thesis) on quantum information that i liked. Here it is:
    It deals with the study of quantum channels (aka quantum operations), which is important in QIT, but also interests me a lot because it studies QM in its foundations.

    So, QIT isn't only about algorithms and cryptography..
    What i would like to know is, what other research topics are there on QIT that in parallel study QM, and isn't just an application like algorithms and cryptography?

    PS. Demystifier, i'm really interested in interpretations a lot because to me they are a serious problem in QM and not just a matter of taste.. But i'd prefer to do that as a hobby, because it's not going to guarantee any finance. I know that it's a shame to think like that but, if you are not paid for what you're doing... everything will go to waste...

    Physics Monkey, what you propose also seems interesting..
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2011
  7. Oct 6, 2011 #6


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    I had a quick look at the thesis and as far as I can tell it deals with open quantum systems. This is certainly relevant for QIP (since decoherence is what kills the cat, so to speak), but I would not say that it is "quantum information" field (EEs use Shannon's theorem all the time, that does not mean that they are studying "classical information")

    Have a look in "The theory of open quantum systems" by Breuer and Petruccioni.
    This book is quite frequently referred to by people who work in QIP, including people who work on applications. It is a book I've used quite a lot in the past (mainly the chapters about the Lindblad formalism etc).
  8. Oct 6, 2011 #7
  9. Oct 7, 2011 #8


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    hadsed thanks for the list!!! It makes my life a lot easier!

    F95toli, i know about open quantum systems because my undergraduate thesis was on them, but i think quantum channels is an application of open quantum systems in transmitting quantum information!
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