Quantum Computer Science: An Introduction

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This article will not require you to have prior knowledge of either quantum physics or computer science to be able to understand it.

Edit Feb 26, : I recently published a video about the same topic on my YouTube channel. I would recommend watching it click here before or after reading this article because I have added some additional, more nuanced arguments in the video. There is a lot to unpack in this sentence, so let me walk you through what it is exactly using a simple example. A quantum computer does not use bits to store information.

Instead, it uses something called qubits. Each qubit can not only be set to 1 or 0, but it can also be set to 1 and 0. But what does that mean exactly?


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Let me explain this with a simple example. This is going to be a somewhat artificial example. And suppose that you have booked 2 taxis for this purpose, and you want to figure out who gets into which taxi. And suppose that your goal here is to divide this group of 3 people into the two taxis to achieve the following two objectives:.


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  6. Okay, so this is the basic premise of this problem. For example, we can set the three bits to 0 , 0 , and 1 to represent:. This score will represent the extent to which each solution achieves the two objectives I mentioned earlier:. For example, suppose that Alice, Becky, and Chris all get into Taxi 1. With three bits, this can be expressed as In this case, there is only one friend pair sharing the same car — Alice and Becky.

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    What is a quantum computer? Explained with a simple example.

    However, there are two enemy pairs sharing the same car — Alice and Chris, and Becky and Chris. As you can see, there are two correct solutions here — and , both achieving the score of 1. This problem is fairly simple. It quickly becomes too difficult to solve with a regular computer as we increase the number of people in this problem.

    With a regular computer, using 3 bits, we were able to represent only one of these solutions at a time — for example, However, with a quantum computer, using 3 qubits , we can represent all 8 of these solutions at the same time. First, examine the first qubit out of these 3 qubits. Now, what if you set the second qubit to 0 and 1, too? In the first world, the two qubits are set to In the second one, they are In the third one, they are In the fourth one, they are This is a strange way to think, but it is one of the correct ways to interpret how the qubits behave in the real world.

    Now, when you apply some sort of computation on these three qubits, you are actually applying the same computation in all of those 8 parallel worlds at the same time. So, instead of going through each of those potential solutions sequentially, we can compute the scores of all solutions at the same time.

    ISBN 10: 0521876583

    With this particular example, in theory, your quantum computer would be able to find one of the best solutions in a few milliseconds. Given these two things, your quantum computer will spit out one of the best solutions in a few milliseconds. However, in reality, there are errors when running a quantum computer. With the expectation that quantum computers will be able to solve problems of significant economic and societal importance that are intractable by current computers, governments and industries around the globe have been heavily investing in building practical quantum computing hardware and software over the last 10 years.

    At this pivotal time—the dawn of the quantum computing era—we invite leading experts to review several selected quantum computing topics, with a special hope that these articles will encourage new-generation researchers to enter this exciting field. These topics will by no means give a full picture of the field, however, due to the limited number of papers allowed in this special issue. Does this separation imply the certain super-power of quantum systems?

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    The second Perspective article, by Mark Saffman, is an introduction to quantum computing with neutral atoms that reflects one of the main approaches to physically realizing large-scale quantum computing. The article also contributes a vision of this area in the next few years. Once large-scalable and functional quantum computers are available, where and how we can use them? The Perspective article by Jonathan Allcock and Shengyu Zhang discusses several models of quantum machine learning—one of the most promising applications of quantum computing—with an emphasis on quantum neural networks.

    How can an end-user without a good knowledge of quantum mechanics trust the outcome of a quantum computer? In the last Perspective article, Mingsheng Ying and Yuan Feng introduce model-checking techniques designed to verify both quantum circuits hardware and quantum programs software. A review on one of the approaches to solid state quantum computing is featured at the end of this special issue so that, when you finish reading the previous articles, you have a solid confidence that you will be able to use a quantum computer in the not too distant future.

    In this review, Hai-Ou Li and Guoping Guo offer an overview of semiconductor quantum computing, from the initialization, control and readout of qubits to the architecture of fault-tolerant quantum computers. Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide. Sign In or Create an Account. Sign In. Advanced Search. Article Navigation. Close mobile search navigation Article Navigation.

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    Volume 6. Article Contents.

    Preface to special topic on quantum computing Guang-Can Guo. Corresponding author. E-mail: gcguo ustc.