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WHAT IS QISS?
An interdisciplinary initiative in Quantum Information and Quantum Gravity, with a research program to unravel the Quantum Information Structure of Spacetime.
QISS is a cross–disciplinary fundamental research initiative in the broader fields of Quantum Information and Quantum Gravity, aiming to put the physics of quantum spacetime on an information theoretical basis, bring within reach empirical access to quantum gravity in 'table–top' laboratory conditions, and promote an extensive interaction between physicists and philosophers. The central goal of this initiative is to deepen the current understanding of this slippery but crucial notion, that is rapidly taking a central role in our understanding of the structure of reality: Information.
QISS begun by the collaboration of the Quantum Gravity Group of the Center for Theoretical Physics and the Laboratory of Informatics and Systems at the University of Aix-Marseille, France. It was concretely conceived as a multinational initiative during a preliminary meeting at the Slovak Academy of Sciences in November 2018, and took off by a generous three year grant by the John Templeton Foundation for the period December 2019 - August 2022 awarded to and managed by the Center for Space, Time and the Quantum at Marseille, France. With this significant development, QISS will support 12 post-doctoral posts across several countries, a series of colloquiums and other scientific activities over the period 1st of December 2019 - August 2022.
Recent advances in Quantum Gravity (QG) —the effort to understand the quantum properties of space and time— point to a central role played by the notion of Information: quantum theory gives the
observer a role, replacing the objective spacetime substratum with an observer–dependent informational structure. Recent advances in Quantum Information (QI) have shown that information theoretical tools naturally describe evolution of quantum geometry, have explored non–trivial causal structures, and the role these can play in Quantum Computing. The convergence between these two vibrant research domains raises opportunities as well as foundational issues that question the heart of our understanding of the world: Is there a deep connection between Information and the nature of Space and Time? Should space and time lose their role as objective grounds of physical reality?
In spite of the explosion of interest for the role played by the notion of Information in the foundations of quantum theory and spacetime physics, we are far from having a shared and clear understanding of
what we mean by Information, and different research groups use this notion in the context of different perspectives. This project brings together an outstanding and coherent consortium of top researchers in QG and QI, and a number of world class philosophers interested in these issues, with the aim of creating a synergy between the three fields, capable of addressing these foundational questions, and introduce quantum information as the fundamental concept on which to base quantum gravity physics.
A dialogue and a common theoretical framework for QI and QG may foster a major breakthrough in our understanding of what we call space and time. The scientists involved in QISS attempt the task of describing ‘gravity in qubits’. To put spacetime dynamics on an information theoretic basis, we will analyse causality, locality and conservation of information in the absence of á priori notions of space and time, develop a general abstract operational framework, and propose table–top experiments and simulations with which to explore QG phenomenology using tools from QI.