Quantum Information Science:
At the turn of the last century, information theory was conceived as an epitome of detachment from physics. The premise that ultimately fueled its success was that we could think of information independently of its physical support. This level of abstraction emerged as the natural way to address very urgent questions in a continuously globalised world: From correcting errors of noisy digitalised communication, message encryption or data compression due to limited communication bandwidth and storage capacity.
Early attempts to quantify the information content of messages or the capacity of communication channels led to concepts that were familiar in a different context: Entropy or more specifically measures thereof provide the means to quantify informational capacities independent of the physical carriers of information. This was reminiscent of statistical physics, where a lack of knowledge about microstates of large systems, quantified by entropy, tells us something relevant about its macroscopic properties, irrespective of the actual microscopic dynamics taking place.
The advent of quantum physics gave rise to an overwhelmingly different insight into the very nature of microscopic systems. Nonetheless it took a few more decades before the significance of quantum effects for information processing were realized.
While a quantum bit can never store more information than a classical bit, composite quantum systems can exhibit peculiar correlations. This Entanglement of quantum particles was so puzzling that even some of the very brilliant founders of quantum theory refused to accept its existence in nature. Only when the first experiments with entangled light demonstrated the ability to produce and manipulate this effect, the scattered studies conducted on the side of the very successful quantum field theories started to regain popularity. Today quantum information science is a fully-fledged and mature discipline and some of its exploits, such as random number generators, cryptography systems and even experimental quantum simulators, have already found their way to consumer markets. Furthermore quantum computing promises to revolutionize the simulation of physical systems and carries great potential for numerous algorithms that outperform the best known classical ones. And ultimately understanding the behaviour of the constituents of complex systems might hold the key to better understanding complex systems from high temperature superconductivity to microbiological organisms.
I am interested in all aspects of the interrelation of Physics and Information: From the characterization of entanglement to the thermodynamics of quantum systems.