Decoherence and decay of quantum states in open systems is the main obstacle towards the realization of quantum computing and communications and a major impediment for coherent control (of atomic, molecular and condensed-phase processes) and quantum state engineering (of fields and atoms in cavities and trapped ions). This Focus Issue is an attempt to highlight the development of schemes for the control of quantum decay and decoherence, by presenting the major trends in this area. To this end, I have solicited a number of articles from groups that have been particularly active in the pursuit of these trends.

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