Inventing the Future of Information
Caltech scientists and engineers are revolutionizing information technology by discovering the fundamental mathematics and physics of information systems and processes.
Approximately 70 professors lead interdisciplinary information-science collaborations at Caltech. Exploiting the depth of knowledge in physics and mathematics throughout campus, Caltech's top computer scientists and electrical engineers collaborate with leading chemists, physicists, biologists, geophysicists, neuroscientists, economists, and others to create transformative knowledge in information science.
- Quantum electronics, optics, algorithms, computers, and communication technologies
- Devices that sense and respond to earthquakes, explosives, or pollution plumes
- Fast, efficient global communication networks; improved data-center efficiency
- Smart-grid technology for the secure, dynamic delivery of clean power
- Optimized methods for auctions, markets, and political processes
- Algorithms to find important information in medical images
- Cellphone-based diagnostics and remote medical care
- Prostheses and implants that integrate with nerves, muscles, the brain, and other organs
- Medicines and devices that can self-assemble, self-heal, and signal like biological molecules
- Identification of sites and processes involved in emotion, learning, memory, and more
- Understanding chemical signaling pathways from genes to cellular interactions
- Machine-learning and machine-vision tools that help researchers collect and classify data
- Energy-saving, high-performance systems to exchange, process, and store data
- Tools and methods for extracting vital information from massive datasets
- Improved simulations and 3-D visualization techniques
- Quantum computers with the power to solve open questions in physics
Research Centers and Partnerships
- Annenberg Center for Information Science and Technology (IST)
- Institute for Quantum Information and Matter (IQIM)
- Center for Advanced Computing Research
This research connects every academic division at Caltech and involves partnerships with universities and labs worldwide and with Microsoft, Google, Pixar and other corporations.
- National Medal of Technology–winner Carver Mead laid the foundation for integrated-circuit design, building on alumnus William Shockley's invention of the transistor.
- National Medal of Science–winner Amnon Yariv, a leader in quantum electronics and photonics, invented lasers used in Internet fiber-optic communications; Caltech alumnus Charles Townes invented the maser and conceptualized optical lasers; and alumnus Robert Hall invented the lasers now used in printers, pointers, CD players, and more.
- Caltech is a worldwide leader in quantum information. Richard Feynman proposed quantum computing; John Preskill invented quantum error correction, which made quantum computation potentially viable; and MacArthur Fellow and Fundamental Physics Prize–laureate Alexei Kitaev proposed a leading model for quantum computing. In 2011, the National Science Foundation granted support to Caltech to launch the Institute for Quantum Information and Matter—a new Physics Frontier Center and the only center approved out of 57 proposals.
- Caltech alumni include information-science titans such as William Shockley, Barney Oliver, Gordon Moore, Irving Reed, Peter Shor, John McCarthy, Cleve Moler, Donald Knuth, and Robert Tarjan.
- Caltech physicists have set world records for network data-transfer speeds, most recently in 2011.
- Caltech alumnus and former biology professor Leroy Hood led the invention of automated gene sequencing.
- Professors and alumni have founded many companies: Carver Mead, the Gordon and Betty Moore Professor of Engineering and Applied Science, Emeritus, alone has founded more than 20. Gordon Moore (of Moore's Law fame) cofounded Intel; Ben Rosen staked and led Compaq; Charlie Trimble founded Trimble Navigation; and Harold Rosen, John Pierce (professor of electrical engineering from 1972 to 1980), Joe Charyk, Ruben Mettler, and Si Ramo founded and led major aerospace companies or satellite communications operations.
Emerging Fields or Areas of Research
Our research advances bioinspired and biological engineering; helps society address hazards and resource limitations; and underpins the development of quantum devices and networks.