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CSC3132 : Introduction to Quantum Computing

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Paolo Zuliani
  • Owning School: Computing
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


Quantum computing is the most fundamental change in the theory of computing since the work of Alan Turing in the 1930s. Quantum mechanics has introduced in computing new, physically realizable constructs that have enabled major computational advances in several important problems (e.g., integers factoring, database search, and secure communications). Furthermore, fully functioning quantum computers are now freely accessible on the cloud (e.g., the IBM Q systems).

The main aims of this module are:
•       to introduce the mathematical foundations of quantum computing necessary to understand the counterintuitive features of quantum algorithms
•       to present the fundamental notions of quantum computing
•       to introduce several nontrivial quantum algorithms and analyse their behaviour
•       to show how quantum algorithms can be implemented and run on a simulator or a quantum computer

Outline Of Syllabus

Status of the quantum computing field
Review of complex linear algebra
Qubits and measurements
Single-qubit unitary operations (NOT, Hadamard, Pauli matrices)
Approximation of single-qubit unitaries
Quantum registers (tensor products)
Entangled states and EPR paradox
Two-qubit operations (CNOT)
Tensor product of unitary operations
No cloning theorem and teleportation protocol
Deutsch-Jozsa’s, Grover’s, and Shor’s algorithms
Approximation of general unitaries (Solovay-Kitaev theorem)
The BB84 quantum key-exchange protocol
Hardware implementations

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture161:0016:00PiP lectures
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials122:0024:00Revise lecture materials
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion16:006:00Preparation for formative assessment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion120:0020:00Preparation for summative assessment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical52:0010:00PiP – computer laboratory practicals
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study43:0012:00Background reading
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study43:0012:00Complete lab practicals
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lectures convey the key theoretical concepts, algorithms, and illustrative examples that will be tried and extended upon in the lab. Quantum computing is quite counterintuitive, and therefore a solid understanding of its theory is required – this cannot be learnt by experimentation. The computer practicals give students hands-on experience with quantum circuits run on simulators or quantum computers, to reinforce the theoretical concepts delivered in the lectures.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination901A80Summative assessment (closed book exam)
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Case study1M20Low stakes summative assessment (brief in-class test)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The main aim of the written exam is to assess the student’s understanding of the theory of quantum computing and quantum algorithms delivered through the lectures – this is necessary to measure to what extent the subject is mastered. The low-stakes assessment focuses on the student’s ability to apply theory to practice and solve simple problems on the quantum algorithms presented at lectures.
If the written exam/test cannot be held, a 24-hour take home exam/test will be administered.

Reading Lists