Quantum theory is only about 100 years old. We still don’t know many things about it. What is clear is that it is responsible for everything we see around us from life to galaxies. Quantum information deals with how systems in the quantum universe evolve and interact with one another. It has implication from the small scale of atoms to the huge scale of black holes.
The field of quantum information has now become very active all over the world. The exact names vary and include names like quantum cryptography, quantum communications, quantum computing, quantum information processing, etc. This new field is very interdisciplinary, and typically involves researchers from departments such as computer science, electrical, optical and material engineering, through physics, chemistry and nano, and all the way to mathematics.
Quantum information is also being connected these days by some researchers to biology
( , , , ), and some speculations are even being made concerning connections to the understanding of the brain ().
Numerous centers and labs are being opened around the world, examples being CQT in Singapore, IQC in Waterloo, xQIT and QIS at MIT, and the KLQI in USTC.
While the field is deeply rooted in fundamental science, a lot of engineering R&D is going on (e.g. single and entangled photon sources, single photon detectors, electronics), and immediate technological applications such as communications security are being realized.
You can read about how this new field will affect for example cyber security on Wikipedia or in recent popular accounts: , , .
In fact, more and more private dedicated companies are already popping up… e.g. IdQuantique, and ComDev.
China has embarked on large scale projects in the form of a land based quantum link between Beijing and Shanghai and the launching of a quantum communication satellite by 2016 ().