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Unit information: Quantum Computation in 2019/20

Please note: Due to alternative arrangements for teaching and assessment in place from 18 March 2020 to mitigate against the restrictions in place due to COVID-19, information shown for 2019/20 may not always be accurate.

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Quantum Computation
Unit code MATHM0023
Credit points 10
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2C (weeks 13 - 18)
Unit director Professor. Montanaro
Open unit status Not open

MATHM5610 Quantum Information Theory



School/department School of Mathematics
Faculty Faculty of Science


Unit Aims

The unit will enable the student to understand and appreciate the concepts behind the model of quantum computation, key quantum algorithms and their applications, at a suitable level of mathematical rigour. It will also encompass theoretical subjects that are relevant to implementations of quantum computation. The unit will include topics that are currently the subject of active research and should provide suitably able and inclined students with the necessary background for postgraduate study in the field.

Unit Description

Quantum computers are machines that are designed to use the principles of quantum mechanics to do things that cannot be done by any standard computer based only on classical physics. This unit will introduce the emerging theory of quantum computation, which has many remarkable features compared with classical computation. The unit will cover some of the most important quantum algorithms currently known, which outperform classical algorithms for tasks ranging from factorising large integers to simulating large quantum-mechanical systems.

Relation to Other Units

This unit is a natural partner and successor to MATHM5610 Quantum Information Theory, which is its only prerequisite. It is likely to be of interest to students from Mathematics, Physics and Computer Science who have an interest in quantum information or the theory of computation.

Intended learning outcomes

At the end of the unit, a successful student will be able to:

- solve computational problems posed within the quantum computing model - apply some key quantum algorithms and prove their correctness - analyse the behaviour of previously unseen quantum circuits, algorithms and protocols - develop simple new quantum algorithms

Transferrable skills:

- Problem-solving techniques. - Rigorous mathematical thinking about computation. - The ability to assimilate and synthesize complex and novel ideas from a wide variety of areas of science.

Teaching details

The unit will be delivered through lectures, comprising 15 hours in total, of 2-3 hours per week. There will in addition be problem sheets and 3 problem classes.

Assessment Details

Formative assessment is through problem sheets discussed in problem classes. Summative assessment is through a 1.5-hour written exam (100%).

Reading and References


  • Scott Aaronson, Quantum Computing Since Democritus, Cambridge University Press, 2014
  • A. Iu Kitaev, A.H. Shen and M.N. VyalyÄ­, Classical and Quantum Computation, American Mathematical Society, 2002
  • Michael A. Nielsen and Isaac L. Chuang, Quantum Computation and Quantum Information Theory, Cambridge University Press, 2000