The first quantum revolution brought us the great technological advances of the 20^{th} century—the transistor, the laser, the atomic clock and GPS, the global positioning system. A ‘second quantum revolution’ is now underway based on our relatively new understanding of how information can be stored, manipulated and communicated using strange quantum hardware that is neither fully digital nor fully analog. We now realize that 20^{th} century hardware does not take full advantage of the power of quantum mechanics. While we do not yet fully understand all aspects of this power, it may lead to computational capabilities exponentially beyond those of today’s computers. Even more remarkable than the concept of quantum computation, is the concept of quantum error correction. Rapid theoretical and experimental progress has brought us to the threshold of the era of practical quantum error correction, and it may soon become possible to carry out nearly perfect computations using imperfect hardware. This talk will give a gentle introduction to the basic concepts that underlie this quantum information revolution.

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