Quantum computing aims to exploit a quantum mechanical representation of information to enable new computers and new communication devices capable of performing tasks that would otherwise be infeasible. In particular, it studies the implications of quantum mechanics for computational complexity, cryptographic security, data transmission, and other aspects of information processing.
Quantum computers promise to address computational challenges with significant applications. For example, quantum simulation can efficiently determine properties of chemical systems and models of condensed matter physics, with potentially revolutionary impact on problems such as drug design and the development of new materials. Quantum computers also enable attacks on classically-secure cryptosystems, motivating the design of novel cryptographic primitives that are secure against quantum attacks. Furthermore, quantum information provides tools to study diverse topics including condensed matter physics, quantum gravity, and the foundations of quantum mechanics through the lens of information and computation.
Ongoing work also applies the principles of classical computer science to the design of quantum computers. Topics under investigation include the development of quantum algorithms, programming languages, compilers, and hardware architectures that offer robust, scalable advantages over classical devices.