We will discuss recent developments at a new scientific interface between quantum optics, quantum many-body physics, information science and engineering. Specifically, we will focus on two examples at this
interface involving realization of programmable quantum systems and their first scientific applications. In the first example, we will describe the recent advances involving programmable, coherent manipulation of quantum
many-body systems using atom arrays excited into Rydberg states. Recent progress involving programmable quantum simulations with over 200 qubits in two-dimensional arrays, the exploration of exotic many-body phenomena, as well as realization and testing of quantum optimization algorithms will be
discussed. In the second example, we will discuss progress towards realization of quantum repeaters for long-distance quantum communication. Specifically, we will describe experimental realization of memory-enhanced
quantum communication, which utilizes a solid-state spin memory integrated in a nanophotonic diamond resonator to implement asynchronous Bell-state measurements. Prospects for scaling up these techniques, including realization of larger quantum processors and quantum networks, as well as
their novel applications will be discussed.