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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Paul Tan The Pham
CSE 490
Seattle Campus

Special Topics in Computer Science and Engineering

Lectures, discussions, and possibly labs on topics of current interest in computer science and engineering not covered by other CSE undergraduate courses.

Class description

This class will cover the basics of quantum computing: history and interpretation of quantum mechanics, quantum bits, tensor product, unitary gates, quantum circuits, Dirac notation, Heisenberg uncertainty, Pauli matrices, energy and Hamiltonians, measurements, quantum Fourier transform, Shor's factoring algorithm, error correction and fault-tolerance, simulating quantum systems, adiabatic quantum computing, and programming a D-Wave One machine.

Student learning goals

Understand the basics of quantum physics from a computer scientistís perspective, and how it describes reality

Be familiar with the key scientists, places, and events behind the development of both quantum physics and quantum computing.

Understand the philosophical implications of quantum computing, and why you might care about whether a quantum computer ever gets built.

Write, run, and interpret the results of a high-level program for a D-Wave One machine.

Have fun doing the above.

General method of instruction

Students will learn by following a narrative: an alternate history where Alan Turing and Richard Feynman meet during World War II and must invent quantum computers to defeat Nazi Germany. The class format is (partially) flipped, where class meetings will be used to review and discuss homeworks, and students are expected to read course notes and work on problems at home.

Recommended preparation

Curiosity. Computational models and basic probability from courses like CSE 311 or CSE 321. High school knowledge of physics and chemistry. Linear algebra basics like from MATH 308

Class assignments and grading

Each assignment will consist of four to five short problems requiring a mathematical calculation or some technical writing, to be done in randomly-chosen groups of four. In class, a randomly-chosen member of each group will be chosen to present their solution to the class.

The only grade for each assignment is "Pass" and "Not yet passed". Students are allowed to try as many times as possible until they understand an assignment.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Additional Information
Last Update by Paul Tan The Pham
Date: 09/24/2012