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COMP39112 Quantum Computing syllabus 2019-2020

COMP39112 materials

COMP39112 Quantum Computing

Level 3
Credits: 10
Enrolled students: 70

Course leader: Richard Banach

Additional staff: view all staff

Additional requirements

  • Pre-requisites

    You have to be happy to do plenty of mathematics, linear algebra in particular. The material is covered in the course itself (and includes topics in linear algebra not covered elsewhere), but it's a great help if you've seen (at least some) linear algebra before. By all means contact me if you're unsure.

Assessment methods

  • 100% Written exam
Sem 2 Lecture Simon 3.44B Tue 10:00 - 11:00 -
Sem 2 Lecture Schuster BRAGG TH Thu 15:00 - 16:00 -


Quantum computing is one of the most intriguing of modern developments at the interface of computing, mathematics and physics, whose long term impact is far from clear as yet.


The perspective that quantum phenomena bring to the questions of information and algorithm is quite unlike the conventional one. In particular, selected problems which classically have only slow algorithms, have in the quantum domain, algorithms which are exponentially faster. Most important among these is the factoring of large numbers, whose difficulty underpins the security of the RSA encryption protocol, used for example in the secure socket layer of the internet. If serious quantum computers could ever be built, RSA would become instantly insecure. This course aims to give the student an introduction to this unusual new field.


State Transition Systems. Nondeterministic Transition Systems, Stochastic Transition Systems, and Quantum Transition Systems. The key issues: Exponentiality, Destructive Interference, Measurement. (1)

Review of Linear Algebra. Complex Inner Product Spaces. Eigenvalues and Eigenvectors, Diagonalisation. Tensor Products. (3)

Pure Quantum Mechanics. Quantum states. Unitary Evolution. Observables, Operators and Commutativity. Measurement. Simple Systems. The No-Cloning theorem. The Qubit. (3)

Entanglement. Schrodinger's cat. EPR states. Bell and CHSH Inequalities. The GHZ Argument. Basis copying versus cloning. (1)

Reading Week:

Computer Scientists and Joint CS and Maths: either Griffiths Chs 1-9 or Mermin Chs 1-4. Physicists, and Joint Maths and Phys: Brassard and Bratley Chs 1-4; other Mathematicians: either of the above. (2)

Basic quantum gates. Simple quantum algorithms. Quantum Teleportation. (3)

Examples Class (1)

Quantum Search (Grover's Algorithm). Quantum Fourier Transform. Phase estimation. Quantum Counting. (5)

Quantum Order Finding. Continued Fractions. Quantum Factoring (Shor's Algorithm). (3)

Teaching methods



Examples classes

Examples classes will be arranged as required

Feedback methods

Feedback is provided face to face or via email, in response to student queries regarding both the course exercises (5 formative exercise sheets with subsequently published answers) and the course material more generally.

Study hours

  • Lectures (24 hours)

Employability skills

  • Analytical skills
  • Innovation/creativity
  • Problem solving
  • Research

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, a student will be able to:

  • Use a subset of linear algebra to express quantum concepts.
  • Define concepts in quantum theory and be able to elicit the consequences of different quantum scenarios.
  • Interpret and analyse simple quantum circuits.

Reading list

Quantum computation and quantum information (10th anniversary edition)Nielsen, Michael A. and Isaac L. Chuang9781107002173Cambridge University Press2016
Quantum computing for computer scientistsYanofsky, Noson S. and Mirco A. Mannucci9780521879965Cambridge University Press2008
Principles of quantum computation and information: a comprehensive textbookBenenti, Guiliano et al9789813237223World Scientific2019
Quantum computing (2nd edition)Hirvensalo, Mika3540407049Springer2003
Principles of quantum computation and information: volume 1 - basic conceptsBenenti, Giuliano and Giulio Casati and Giuliano Strini9812388583World Scientific Publishing Co Pte Ltd2004
Fundamentals of algorithmicsBrassard, Gilles and Paul Bratley0133350681Pearson Education Limited1996
Quantum computingGruska, Jozef0077095030McGraw-Hill Education - Europe1999
Algorithms: sequential, parallel and distributedBerman, Kenneth A. and Jerome L. Paul0534420575Thomson Learning2004
Strange world of quantum mechanicsStyer, Daniel F.0521661048Cambridge University Press2000
Lectures on quantum theory: mathematical and structural foundationsIsham, Chris J.1860940013Imperial College Press1995
Quantum computer science: an introductionMermin, N. David9780521876582Cambridge University Press2007
Consistent quantum theoryGriffiths, Robert B.0521539293Cambridge University Press2002

Additional notes

Course unit materials

Links to course unit teaching materials can be found on the School of Computer Science website for current students.