Since being proposed a half-century ago, quantum computing has been confined to science fiction and the daydreams of physicists.

Then that all changed.

“In the last decade, the field of quantum information science has rapidly expanded beyond fundamental research toward real-world applications,” said Prof. David Awschalom of the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago.

Behind the scenes, a number of breakthroughs have made it possible for scientists to encode and manipulate information in quantum systems, which behave according to the strange laws of quantum mechanics. Today, university scientists like those at the PME are fleshing out the fundamental rules of controlling such systems, while Google, IBM, Microsoft and Intel are pouring millions of dollars in a race to build those concepts into working computers.

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