One of the most tantalizing aspects of quantum information science is that a quantum computer may eventually arise from technology that is completely unknown at present. Whatever the evolution of such devices, experiments that control individual atoms and photons will continue to lead exploration of the bizarre features of quantum mechanical foundations and their application to information processing. After all, the systems currently under study are precisely the “thought experiments” envisioned by Einstein, Bohr, Heisenberg, and the other founding figures of quantum theory over 80 years ago. With the new language of quantum information, we hope to gain more insight into the underlying quantum physical principles, just as the classical theory of information ushered in the advances in physics responsible for our current digital age.
The interdisciplinary nature of this field and the important role played by theory are characteristic trademarks of quantum information. Theory continues to play a key role, even as experimental progress is made toward the quantum processing of information for communication and computational tasks. This exciting and rapidly moving area promises to be a major driver of AMO physics in the next few decades, demanding advances in control of our quantum world that will continue to surprise and amaze.