Topological Phases and Quantum Computation

Coordinators: F. A. Bais, Chetan Nayak, John Preskill

Note: Monday, Feb. 20, is Presidents' Day, an observed holiday on which KITP will be closed.

Quantum computers should be capable of performing tasks that would be inconceivable with conventional digital computers, but enormous scientific and engineering challenges must be overcome for scalable quantum computers to be realized. Topological quantum computation is a particularly appealing proposal for implementing quantum information processing, in which quantum states are encoded in the nonlocal degrees of freedom of a suitable topologically ordered physical system. Because of the nonlocal encoding, these quantum states are intrinsically resistant to the debilitating effects of local noise.

The main goal of this program is to address theoretical issues concerning the physical realization of topological quantum computers in condensed matter systems and thereby galvanize experimental efforts in this direction. The program will bring together researchers in topology, solid state physics, ultra-cold atoms, and computer science, many of whom have not collaborated before. We intend to assess the feasibility of topological quantum computing and map out a strategy for discovering or engineering a quantum medium conducive to universal quantum computation.