What is Quantum Information Science?
Qantum Information Science (QIS) concerns information science that depends on quantum effects in physics. QIS technology differentiates itself from classic computers by building upon quantum physics and quantum mechanical effects such as entanglement, interference, superposition, non-clonability and non-determinism. Quantum based computing can in some case provide tremendous boost in performance and solve problems that otherwise could take a very long time to compute (only a few such algorithms however have been designed to date). In QIS, many concepts familiar to the Classic Information Science (CIS) get transformed to their quantum equivalent. A classic bit for example becomes a qubit (and can behave quit differently). Instead of using logical electronic gates, quantum gates are assembled to form quantum circuits and execute quantum algorithms.
Quantum computers are currently at a very experimental stage. No production system is in existence and, while small prototypes are being tested in the laboratories (using a few qubits), we may not see such reality before 10,20 or even more. The main challenge is that, while we do understand the underlying physics, the engineering to build such systems is not available. Nevertheless, quantum hardware is an unavoidable outcome. According to Moore's law, we double the number of transistors that can be place in a processor every couple of year. This shrinking process cannot continue indefinitely and we will in the next 10 to 20 year read the size a single atoms at which level quantum mechanical effects can no longer be ignored. While we may therefore not immediately take advantage quantum algorithm, classic computers will soon have to operate on quantum hardware.
Learning Quantum Information Science is a fascinating experience. It is also mind boggling process that will change your vision and understanding of the world if you are not yet familiar with the weirdness of quantum mechanics. Various research papers, publications and web site are available on the topic.
See the Resources section of this site for links to QIS related sites, tutorials and tools.