The past century in fundamental physics has shown a steady progression away from thinking in terms of a description of material objects and their interactions, and towards a description of the evolution of information in the physical world. It has become clear that information lies at the heart of our basic theories of physics. In turn, deep analysis of these physical theories has led to significant advances in thinking about information. Research at the nexus of physics and information has exploded in recent years, driven by the "information age" in which we live, and by developments in quantum information theory and computer science. These studies, however, tend to focus on practical applications and fundamental theory but not foundational questions. Moreover, it is often unclear whether different researchers are even talking about the same fundamental entities, or what the relations are between them. The proposed program will address this gap between research and technological progress on information science on one side, and active study of the true physical nature of information on the other. It will also, by bringing together the community in a focused and intense effort via our proposed Large and Mini Grants, seek to help develop a common understanding of the different types of information and the roles they play. And, this grants program will catalyze a large research core that will have significant implications for our understanding of the world, and potentially revolutionize humanity's perspectives of reality. FQXi, an innovative philanthropic organization of scientists for scientists, will coordinate all aspects of the Large and Mini Grant program’s RFP development, outreach, proposal review and selection. The donor advised fund, the Foundational Questions Institute Fund, care of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation will administer the grantee due diligence, disbursement, and financial reporting of this program, with advice and recommendations by FQXi.
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