This is a class about quantum computing for beginners. Quantum computing is an exciting field that studies how we can build computing machines using the fundamental laws of physics at the scale of atoms and the wavelengths of visible light. It is being taught by Paul Pham in Fall 2012 at the University of Washington’s Department of Computer Science & Engineering.

Students will learn by inhabiting an alternate history where Alan Turing and Richard Feynman meet during World War II and must invent quantum computers to defeat Nazi Germany. As a final project, they will get to program a D-Wave One machine and interpret its results.

On other pages you can find the course objectives and the syllabus (subject to change!), and the class format including grading. The actual story chapters and notes for the class will not be released online until the course is over. The only way to get them this autumn is to show up for the class every week and do the in-class assignments. You don’t even have to be a registered UW student, you just have to be physically present.

The official course number is CSE 490Q (q for quantum :).

The class meets every Tuesday from September 29th to December 4th on 2012 at 2:30pm to 3:20pm in MGH 295.

There will be a final meeting during finals week (December 10-14) with a time and place to be decided, but no traditional final exam. This period will be used to complete the final programming project and celebrate.

The prerequisites for a beginning quantum enthusiast are: you must be curious about quantum computing. Beyond that, optionally, you should know something about computational models and basic probability from courses like CSE 311 or CSE 321, you have a high school knowledge of physics and chemistry, and you know some basics about linear algebra from a class like MATH 308. These are not hard and fast requirements, but if you don’t have this background, be prepared to learn what you need to know quickly and ask lots of questions. And it will be easier and more fun to do these things if you are curious to begin with.

There is no official course text except the provided notes. However, you may find these resources useful for further reading.