Quantum Computing for Undergrads

Dave Bacon asks, I answer. Well, OK, Dave was asking how one would go about teaching quantum computing to CS undergrads, while what I provide here is a set of lectures on presenting quantum computing ideas to undergrad physics majors in my Quantum Optics class. But, really, isn’t that almost the same thing (don’t answer that).

The notes:

  • Lecture 17: Computing theory, logic gates, quantum gates, entangling operations.
  • Lecture 18: Quantum algorithms, the Deutsch-Josza algorithm.
  • Lecture 19: Physical implementations of quantum computing, the DiVincenzo Criteria.

This more or less concludes the lectures for the class– the final two weeks will be devoted to in-class oral presentations about student research projects. There’s one more lecture, a not-entirely-successful class on density matrices and decoherence, that I’ll post when I get someone to scan it in for me.


  1. #1 Dave Bacon
    May 24, 2006

    Cool! Did the students take to the material well?

  2. #2 Chad Orzel
    May 24, 2006

    Reviews were mixed. Some really liked it, but some others have expressed a deep dislike of “The stuff with the ones and zeroes.”

    It probably deserves more than three lectures, but I’m stuck with our current tight schedule…

  3. #3 Carla Hein
    May 26, 2006

    I’m a writer/futurist specializing in quantum computing—the cheap, fast, generic version. Snobbish government-funded labs think that quantum computers cost billions, take decades for PhDs to develop, are too complex for ordinary people and won’t be ready for five or ten years—not so! The truth is that Quantum computing is ideal for peer-to-peer volunteers to compete nose-to-nose with
    Big Science Establishment and teach them some humiliy.

    The race is on for the 100,000,000-qubit computer. Scrap the 64-bit Pentium chip—its a pop-gun in comparison. If you want a massive, world-class project completed in a fraction of the time, done right and under budget, get creative P2P volunteers excited about revolutionizing Internet, fast-forward broadband and make science affordable. Also, forget grid computing–it’s too clumsy and slow. Try a hyperfractal shortcut through the grid and eliminate the Pentium’s bottlenecks—NO transistors, NO clocks. On hyperfractal architecture quantum computing is faster, simpler, easier, cleaner and a lot more efficient—by an order of powers! P2P problem-solvers can use the hyperfractal to challenge BigScience’s “unknowables’. 1. Find the Unified Field Theory. It’s the pair-to-pair interface between a field of photons and a field of electrons—right down the center. The word “entanglement” is imprecise and misleading. 2. Find the answer to Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle. On the hyperfractal an overview of a photonic field attracted to an electronic field—nature’s way of self-organizing biological matter. The observer sees, but does not alter the pair-to-pair electromagnetic bond—field-to-field relationships. This is just for starters—trust your P2P enthusiasts to be quantum computing at mindspeed while the government-funded labs are still stuck in 64-bit institutional inertia.
    Carla Hein

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