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COMP39112 Quantum Computing syllabus 2017-2018

COMP39112 materials

COMP39112 Quantum Computing

Level 3
Credits: 10
Enrolled students: 16

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 1.1 Wed 12:00 - 13:00 -
Sem 2 Lecture 1.1 Thu 16:00 - 17:00 -


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

Programme outcomeUnit learning outcomesAssessment
A1 A3 B1 D6Be familiar with linear algebra and basic quantum mechanics.
  • Examination
A1 A3 B1 D6Be familiar with qubits and basic quantum gates.
  • Examination
A1 A3 B1 D6Have a knowledge of standard quantum algorithms.
  • Examination
A1 A3 B1 D6Be able to design simple quantum algorithms.
  • Examination

Reading list

Quantum computing for computer scientistsYanofsky, Noson S. and Mirco A. Mannucci9780521879965Cambridge University Press2008
Quantum computation and quantum informationNielsen, Michael A. and Isaac L. Chuang0521635039Cambridge University Press2000
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
Algorithms: sequential, parallel and distributedBerman, Kenneth A. and Jerome L. Paul0534420575Thomson Learning2004
Lectures on quantum theory: mathematical and structural foundationsIsham, Chris J.1860940013Imperial College Press1995
Strange world of quantum mechanicsStyer, Daniel F.0521661048Cambridge University Press2000
Quantum computer science: an introductionMermin, N. David9780521876582Cambridge University Press2007
Fundamentals of algorithmicsBrassard, Gilles and Paul Bratley0133350681Pearson Education Limited1996
Quantum computingGruska, Jozef0077095030McGraw-Hill Education - Europe1999
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.