Module lead: Dr Niel De Beaudrap

This module will introduce you to quantum computation on a level which will allow you to appreciate what it consists of on an elementary, hardware-independent level. Quantum mechanics is a model of physics with subtle and often-misunderstood consequences. So, while quantum computation offers the prospect of enhanced computational power, it is also important to understand how it differs from massively parallelised computations, how it avoids the pitfalls of analog computation, and what techniques may prove essential to ensure that it does not succumb to noise. For these reasons, a solid grasp of the underpinnings of quantum computation though theoretical principles is essential to have an informed perspective of the capability of this new computational paradigm.

As quantum hardware platforms continue to mature, this module will provide you with the necessary skills to understand these developments. You’ll learn about the motivations of quantum computing and develop a foundation to understand how quantum mechanical systems represent and process data, along with the mathematical tools to apply this framework. You’ll learn how quantum data may be described mathematically, how quantum computations may be described at a very low level, and how quantum data can be protected from noise. This will put you in a better position to critically assess the claims made regarding new developments in hardware.

From a professional perspective, quantum computing technology is a subject of increasing interest across various industries. This module will be beneficial to students who are interested in pursuing a career in quantum information systems, quantum applications, or for students who want an in-depth understanding of how quantum technology is used to process data.

By the end of this module, you’ll be able to:

  • systematically comprehend and analyse the difference between quantum states and randomness, and exponential parallelism
  • evaluate and assess simple communication procedures, such as quantum teleportation
  • systematically recognise, comprehend, and critically appraise applications of quantum computing technology.

Types of assessment may include:

  • a formative exercise (0%) – mathematical problems drawn from the lecture materials, for students to develop and evaluate their understanding of the material
  • problem set (30%) – an exam assessing your recall of various definitions and grasp of the mathematical techniques, which are relevant to quantum computation on a foundational level
  • portfolio (70%) – a written report on a special topic in quantum computation, chosen by you but subject to the advice and approval of the lecturer.