About Us

WHAT IS QISS?

QISS is a fundamental research initiative across disciplines, in the broader fields of Quantum Information and Quantum Gravity. We aim to found the physics of quantum spacetime on an information theoretical basis, bring within reach empirical access to quantum gravity phenomenology using technologies that quantum manipulate gravitating mesoscopic masses, and promote an extensive interaction between physicists and philosophers. The conceptual premise of QISS 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.

The broader scope of the collaboration is to establish a long term research program that brings together the communities represented towards the common goal of unravelling the Quantum Information Structure of Gravity. We provide a forum and resources for researchers interested at the interface of Quantum Information and Quantum Gravity. 

QISS was initially conceived from interactions between 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 awarded to the Center for Space, Time and the Quantum that coordinates the project. The QISS consortium is now composed of thirteen research groups and several external associates, bringing together 100+ researchers in fundamental physics and computer science. QISS supports  post-doctoral fellowships, PhD scholarships, a series of colloquiums and visiting fellowship programs.

To what extend is Reality objectively determined independently of the Information that it is possible to have about it?


Are space and time losing their role as grounds for an objective physical reality?

What does it mean for an observer or "agent" to exist in a superposition of spacetimes? What do they experience?


Can we detect spacetime in a quantum superposition in the lab?

Does `happening' necessarily presuppose `somewhere, sometime, with respect to someone'?

Can physical laws be expressed in terms of Information processing?

Rationale

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. Different research groups use this notion in the context of different perspectives. Dialogue and a common theoretical framework for Quantum Information and Quantum Gravity can clarify the role of Information in quantum gravitational physics and foster a major breakthrough in our understanding of what we call space and time.

The two research communities of Quantum Information and Quantum Gravity face parallel questions regarding the conceptual foundation of our understanding of the world.  Quantum theory and general relativity have modified our notions of Locality and Objectivity on the one hand, and Space and Time on the other.  As much as these modifications deepen our understanding of reality,  they also reveal our ignorance:  in light of what we have learnt, what can we say about what is an objective fact?  What can we say about the spatial and temporal localization of facts? Does `happening’ necessarily presuppose ‘somewhere, sometime, with respect to somebody’?  What are we, the observers, and what is the information we have about reality in a world where everything, including us and the space and time we inhabit, are quantum entities?  What kind of physical systems are we, human beings, in such a world no longer captured by the naive scientific materialism of old mechanical philosophy?  What is the appropriate conceptual structure for capturing our current knowledge?

The QISS project brings together leading scientists from both research communities interested in facing these basic questions, including theorists, experimentalists and a group of leading philosophers of science.  Together, we form a research consortium researching questions at the foundations of basic science from a multiplicity of points of view, from pure philosophy to the laboratory bench.  We provide the forum for a fertile dialogue between the broader communities of Quantum Information and Quantum Gravity, catalysing cross–disciplinary collaborations and  demonstrating concretely the benefits of working together. The ambitious and expanded proposed second phase will secure the gains we have made these past two years, ensuring a partial merging of the two communities in a ten year horizon. We aim to bring quantum gravity into contact with experience while advancing our fundamental understanding of reality.