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ITL Quantum Information Program -- Technical Details

The ITL Quantum Information Program is organized into three main thrust areas.

Quantum Information Theory

We provide the leadership in quantum information theory necessary to carry out the NIST-wide program in quantum information science. Important components of this include

  • Theoretical studies necessary to develop a fundamental understanding of the underlying power of quantum information processing.
  • Development and assessment of strategies for preventing and controlling errors in quantum memory and quantum operations.
  • Analysis of quantum algorithms, especially with respect to the threat they pose to public key cryptosystems.


See the Quantum Algorithm Zoo, a compendium of known quantum algorithms.

Quantum Computer Benchmarking

Many physical realizations of quantum computing are still being actively considered, with none having overwhelming advantage. Measurement science is needed to be able to assess the properties and performance of alternatives for quantum computer engineering at all levels, from the underlying physical components to higher level system designs. The ITL effort in this area includes

  • Theoretical evaluation of physical realizations of quantum information processing.
  • Development and execution of benchmarks to assess quantum information processing capabilities.
  • Development and evaluation of architectural concepts and related technologies for future quantum computing systems.
  • Development and distribution of techniques and tools to enable all of the above.

Quantum Communications

To process quantum information we must be able to move it both short and long distances. Technologies for accomplishing such things are still under early R&D, for which NIST measurement science will be necessary for progress. ITL work in this area includes

  • Investigation of fundamental quantum operations, such as measurements (e.g., Bell measurement) and teleportation with entangled photon pairs. These are first steps in the development of technologies such as quantum repeaters, linear optics quantum computers, and inter-quantum system communications.
  • Development and measurement of optical components, such as frequency converters, single photon generators, and entangled photon generators, as needed to support quantum communication.
  • Measurement and analysis of quantum communication protocols.
  • Development and measurement of supporting communication technologies, including high-speed data processing components.

[Further information on Quantum Communications ...]