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Quantum Class 1, Mon 2022-08-29

1 Misc

1.1 Syllabus

Read the syllabus, accessible from the top bar.

1.2 Gradescope

We'll use Gradescope for submitting homeworks and possibly projects. Use the entry code that I'll give in class to add yourself.

"If you already have a Gradescope account, log into that account and navigate to your Account Dashboard by clicking the Gradescope logo in the top left, and click Add Course in the bottom right corner. Then enter your course code."

Then, the quick link to the course should be . It is available in the top bar of this page.

1.3 My research

I do parallel geometry algorithms on large problems for CAD and GIS. See my home page. I will be retiring this year after 45 years at RPI (including several years at places like the National Science Foundation and UC Berkeley).

1.4 Changes from last year

  1. New textbooks.

  2. More non-IBM material.

  3. No piazza.

  4. Class is in person.

  5. Switch to the new edition of Hidary (2nd ed, 2021).

1.5 My role

  1. My main job is to be a curator selecting the best material for the class.

  2. I try to show the principals themselves describing their work and their opinions. E.g., Peter Shor talking about his algorithm and about quantum computing in general.

  3. I try to leave you wanting to learn more.

  4. There's a lot that I still have to learn about quantum computing. For some specific topics, some of you may know more than me.

1.6 Office hours

  1. After most classes for an hour.

  2. By webex at mutually agreeable times; email me.

1.7 Textbooks

1.7.1 Preferred text

  1. Jack D. Hidary. Quantum Computing: An Applied Approach, 3nd edition, 2021. @ Springer. Also on Amazon.

1.7.2 Optional extra texts

  1. Noson S. Yanofsky and Mirco A. Mannucci. Quantum Computing for Computer Scientists 1st Edition

    I used to use this. This is nice but is 20 years old, and so omits some things. However I'll refer to it a little.

    I encourage you to read several books, and pick and choose.

  2. Abraham Asfaw et al, Learn Quantum Computation using Qiskit,, 2020

    There's an old and a new version. The old version was more comprehensive.

1.8 Web sites

  1. IBM's detailed online stuff. Not just qiskit but algorithms etc.

  2. Other universities provided inspiration.

  3. Misc quantum research centers, like Delft

  4. Many videos.

1.9 Course blog


  2. My former web site,, now redirects to .

1.10 Learning Outcomes

  1. Demonstrate proficiency with the mathematics behind quantum computing.

  2. Understand important quantum computing algorithms.

  3. Understand the three main quantum platforms: transmon qubit, trapped ion, and quantum annealing.

  4. Apply that to write and run programs on those platforms.

2 Intro to quantum computing

2.1 Intro

Alice laughed. "There's no use trying," she said: "one can't believe impossible things." "I daresay you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast." - Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There (1871), by Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson).

2.2 Brief History

The WIRED Guide to Quantum Computing 08.24.2018. Nice non-too-technical summary of the history. The theory preceded the realization. This happens sometimes, e.g., with atomic energy. From there:


Physicist Paul Benioff suggests quantum mechanics could be used for computation.


Nobel-winning physicist Richard Feynman, at Caltech, coins the term quantum computer.


Physicist David Deutsch, at Oxford, maps out how a quantum computer would operate, a blueprint that underpins the nascent industry of today.


Mathematician Peter Shor, at Bell Labs, writes an algorithm that could tap a quantum computer’s power to break widely used forms of encryption.


D-Wave, a Canadian startup, announces a quantum computing chip it says can solve Sudoku puzzles, triggering years of debate over whether the company’s technology really works.

2013 Google teams up with NASA to fund a lab to try out D-Wave’s hardware.


Google hires the professor behind some of the best quantum computer hardware yet to lead its new quantum hardware lab.


IBM puts some of its prototype quantum processors on the internet for anyone to experiment with, saying programmers need to get ready to write quantum code.


Startup Rigetti opens its own quantum computer fabrication facility to build prototype hardware and compete with Google and IBM.

2.3 Intro sites

  1. Feynman was the first to propose the theoretical idea of a quantum computer.

    Richard Feynman - Quantum Mechanics 4:01.

    Extracted from HD Feynman: FUN TO IMAGINE complete 1080p 1:06:49. Recorded in 1983.

  2. David Deutsch - Why is the Quantum so Strange? (8:43)

  3. Quantum Algorithms (2:52)

    Which problems can quantum computers solve exponentially faster than classical computers? David Gosset, IBM quantum computing research scientist, explains why algorithms are key to finding out.