Skip to navigation | Skip to main content | Skip to footer

COMP39112: Quantum Computing (2011-2012)

This is an archived syllabus from 2011-2012

Quantum Computing
Level: 3
Credit rating: 10
Pre-requisites: The basic message is: 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.
Co-requisites: No Co-requisites
Duration: 11 weeks
Lectures: 18
Examples classes: as needed
Labs: None
Lecturers: Richard Banach
Course lecturer: Richard Banach

Additional staff: view all staff
Sem 2 Lecture LF17 Wed 12:00 - 13:00 -
Sem 2 Lecture LF17 Thu 16:00 - 17:00 -
Assessment Breakdown
Exam: 100%
Coursework: 0%
Lab: 0%


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.

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


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)

Reading List

For comments on these and other books, see the COMP30222 (sorry, COMP39112) website.

Core Text
Title: Quantum computing for computer scientists
Author: Yanofsky, Noson S. and Mirco A. Mannucci
ISBN: 9780521879965
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Year: 2008
Probably the best bet for CS students.

Core Text
Title: Quantum computation and quantum information (10th anniversary edition)
Author: Nielsen, Michael A. and Isaac L. Chuang
ISBN: 9781107002173
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Year: 2016
Highly regarded, thoroughgoing treatment of the subject.

Supplementary Text
Title: Consistent quantum theory
Author: Griffiths, Robert B.
ISBN: 0521539293
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Year: 2002

Supplementary Text
Title: Quantum computing
Author: Gruska, Jozef
ISBN: 0077095030
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education - Europe
Year: 1999

Supplementary Text
Title: Strange world of quantum mechanics
Author: Styer, Daniel F.
ISBN: 0521661048
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Year: 2000

Supplementary Text
Title: Quantum computer science: an introduction
Author: Mermin, N. David
ISBN: 9780521876582
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Year: 2007

Supplementary Text
Title: Lectures on quantum theory: mathematical and structural foundations
Author: Isham, Chris J.
ISBN: 1860940013
Publisher: Imperial College Press
Year: 1995

Supplementary Text
Title: Algorithms: sequential, parallel and distributed
Author: Berman, Kenneth A. and Jerome L. Paul
ISBN: 0534420575
Publisher: Thomson Learning
Year: 2004

Supplementary Text
Title: Principles of quantum computation and information: volume 1 - basic concepts
Author: Benenti, Giuliano and Giulio Casati and Giuliano Strini
ISBN: 9812388583
Publisher: World Scientific Publishing Co Pte Ltd
Edition: Vol I
Year: 2004

Supplementary Text
Title: Fundamentals of algorithmics
Author: Brassard, Gilles and Paul Bratley
ISBN: 0133350681
Publisher: Pearson Education Limited
Year: 1996

Supplementary Text
Title: Quantum computing (2nd edition)
Author: Hirvensalo, Mika
ISBN: 3540407049
Publisher: Springer
Year: 2003