Computer Sciences Dept.

CS 880 - Quantum Information Processing

Fall 2010

Course Description

Remarkable results from the last two decades have given evidence that computers based on quantum mechanical principles could profoundly alter the nature of information processing. Efficient algorithms for factoring integers, strategies for finding an entry in an unsorted database using a sublinear number of queries, techniques like teleportation and superdense coding, and provably secure schemes for cryptographic key distribution have demonstrated how differently quantum information behaves, and how these properties can be exploited to solve certain computational problems better than known classically.

This course focuses on the computational aspects of quantum information processing. We develop a quantum model of computation out of the classical model, present the known paradigms of efficient quantum computation, and discuss their potential and limitations. Next we switch to communication and other interactive processes, including cryptographic ones. Time permitting and depending on the interests of the audience, we cover additional topics such as error correction and fault tolerance.


Knowledge of linear algebra at the level of Math 340, and familiarity with probability and algorithms is assumed. No specific knowledge of theoretical computer science is required; that background will be provided as needed.


M 4:00-5:15pm and TR 2:30-3:45pm in CS 1257.


Lecture notes will be made available from the course web page. There is no required text, but the text "Quantum Computation and Quantum Information" by Nielsen and Chuang is a good reference. In particular, the text does an excellent job in providing the above background.

Course Work

  • Scribes. You will be expected to write notes for a few lectures following the guidelines provided. Someone who missed the class should be able to learn the material from the notes.

  • Homework. There will be two to three assignments.

  • Project. There will be no exams. Instead, you are expected to work out a project on a topic of your own choosing. Suggestions will be provided in due time.

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