Christopher Fuchs Wins International Quantum Communication Award

PI researcher Christopher Fuchs was honoured for his "outstanding contributions to the theory of quantum communications including state disturbance."


PI researcher Christopher Fuchs has been awarded the International Quantum Communication Award at the 10th International Conference on Quantum Communication, Measurement and Computation (QCMC) for his “outstanding contributions to the theory of quantum communication including quantum state disturbance.” The award was given at a ceremony in Brisbane, Australia, on July 21.

The International Quantum Communication Award is bestowed every two years during the QCMC conference. This year, Dr. Fuchs was honoured alongside Masanao Ozawa of Nagoya University, Alexander Lvovsky of the University of Calgary, and Perimeter Institute Scientific Advisory Committee Chair, Gerard Milburn of the University of Queensland. Previous years’ winners have included many of the pioneers of the field of quantum information, such as Charles Bennett (1996), Peter Shor (1998), David Deutsch (2002), Ignacio Cirac (2006), and Anton Zeilinger (2008). 

In learning of the award, PI Director Neil Turok said, “We are delighted by this timely recognition of Dr. Fuchs’ work. His foundational work on the structure of quantum mechanics has provided genuinely new insights into quantum information and quantum cryptography and shows once again the fruitful interplay of these subjects. We are also naturally pleased that the Chair of our Scientific Advisory Committee, Gerard Milburn, has likewise been honoured.”

Dr. Fuchs said, “I feel deeply honoured to be ranked in the company of scientists whose work has shaped the field of quantum information. For years, I have tried to understand what is at the root of quantum mechanics, which appears to have so many strange and counterintuitive aspects. It struck me early on that many of these mysteries may be solved, or at least better understood, by recasting them in the terms of information theory. This is why I took a PhD in the subject even though there wasn’t really a “field of quantum information” to be employed in yet. The fact that these foundational ideas have found wider use for practical quantum communication systems and engineering is very satisfying.”

Dr. Fuchs’ publications include two books and more than 60 scientific papers, with over 4,200 citations to date (Google Scholar). Some of Dr. Fuchs’ key contributions recognized with the award include the quantum no-broadcasting theorem [5], which formalized key differences between classical and quantum information and had important implications for quantum cryptography. Quantum cryptography seeks to harness the laws of quantum mechanics to provide unconditional data and communications security based on the fact that eavesdropping inevitably disturbs quantum information, and is therefore detected.

In [3] Dr. Fuchs demonstrated that quantum states can sometimes carry more classical information than classical states themselves. Dr. Fuchs also found the minimal tradeoff between information gain and quantum state disturbance in quantum channel theory [1, 4]. He used these ideas to define criteria for successful quantum teleportation [2] in a paper which was recognized by the journal Science as one of the “Top 10 Breakthroughs of the Year.” Quantum teleportation is a quantum protocol by which quantum information held in a quantum superposition can, in principle, be transmitted exactly from one location to another. Intensive research is now underway seeking to harness quantum teleportation for quantum communication and ultimately, to build quantum computers.

Dr. Fuchs’ previous honors include having been Lee DuBridge Prize Postdoctoral Fellow at the California Institute of Technology and a winner of the Albert A. Michelson award. He is Chair-Elect of the 1,000-member American Physical Society Topical Group on Quantum Information. Dr. Fuchs was also recently named as the 2011 Clifford Lecturer by Tulane University in New Orleans. His second book, Coming of Age with Quantum Information: Notes on a Paulian Idea, will be published by Cambridge University Press in Fall, 2010.

References and Further Reading: 

[1] C. A. Fuchs. “Information Gain vs. State Disturbance in Quantum Theory.” Fortschritte der Physik 46(4,5), 535-565 (1998).

[2] A. Furusawa, J. L. Sørensen, S. L. Braunstein, C. A. Fuchs, H. J. Kimble, and E. S. Polzik. “Unconditional Quantum Teleportation.” Science 282(5389), 706-709 (1998).

[3] C. A. Fuchs. “Nonorthogonal Quantum States Maximize Classical Information Capacity.” Physical Review Letters 79(6), 1162-1165 (1997).

[4] C. A. Fuchs and A. Peres. “Quantum State Disturbance vs. Information Gain: Uncertainty Relations for Quantum Information.” Physical Review A 53(4), 2038-2045 (1996).

[5] H. Barnum, C. M. Caves, C. A. Fuchs, R. Jozsa, and B. Schumacher. “Noncommuting Mixed States Cannot Be Broadcast.” Physical Review Letters 76(15), 2818-2821 (1996).

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