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Unit information: Topics in Quantum Engineering in 2020/21

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Unit name Topics in Quantum Engineering
Unit code PHYSM0043
Credit points 10
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Jorge Barreto
Open unit status Not open



Quantum information theory

School/department School of Physics
Faculty Faculty of Science


Each quantum technology platform has its own strengths and weaknesses and there is currently no clear leader. At the same time, each platform has something to teach us about quantum engineering, and to best understand the subtleties of the field and identify opportunities for progress a quantum engineer needs detailed knowledge of them all. This unit provides training for Quantum Engineering students outside the regular classroom setting to accommodate new topics and seminars that arise in this rapidly developing field. The development of transferrable skills is fundamental in this unit, both by observation and by direct practice. One major theme of the unit is fostering the student’s evolution from an undergraduate mind-set to an independent, research-aware graduate student.

The course will consist of taught modules that will include lectures from experts, topical modules delivered by
students and structured discussion/debate about a platform’s suitability. This will be captured by the students in a platform database that will evolve year on year with the field. Each student will deliver one cohort learning module on a topic, approved by the Director, to the rest of the cohort. Each student will also organise either (i) a cohort incursion, where an approved visitor will deliver a presentation to the cohort, or (ii) excursion to an approved host.

Intended learning outcomes

Upon completion of the unit the student should:

  • Be able to compare the advantages and drawbacks involved in quantum technology at large. -
  • Be able to describe the ‘bigger picture’ in Quantum Engineering and its role beyond academia. -
  • Be able to explain how each platform satisfies the fundamentals of quantum information processing. -
  • Be able to identify the most adequate approach to implement a solution to a problem using a quantum information processing technology

Transferrable skills:

  • Specific transferrable skills training in dedicated modules.
  • The ability to organise and deliver training to peers (modules, workshops).
  • The ability to Communicate technical material both in small and larger groups.
  • Critical assessment of technologies.
  • Formulating and defending one’s scientific opinion amongst others
  • Summarising and communicating technical material at the level of current research.

Teaching details

The unit will be taught through a combination of

  • asynchronous online materials, including narrated presentations and worked examples
  • synchronous group problems classes, workshops, tutorials and/or office hours
  • asynchronous directed individual formative exercises and other exercises
  • guided, structured reading

Assessment Details

Summative assessment will be based 30% on peer-assessment of the modules delivered, and 70% assessed by the instructor. Each student will prepare a 50 minute-long lecture and a A1 poster. The total amount of assessed written material will be no more than 1000 words, and the total amount of assessed non-written presentation will be no more than 1.5 hours.

Reading and References

Texts, reviews and research articles appropriate to each module, at the instructor’s discretion.