Chem/CS/Phys191: Qubits, Quantum Mechanics, and Computers

Lecture Wed & Fri 9:30 - 11:00am (306 Soda Hall)
Section 101 F 10:45-11:45am 306 Soda
Section 2 M 9:30-10:30am 306 Soda
Please fill out this poll for your availability for office hours!


Prof. Birgitta Whaley
Dr. Kevin Young
Dr. Mohan Sarovar

Instructor Office Hours
W 10.45 -11.45 in 219 Gilman
F 1.30 - 2.30 in 219 Gilman

Teaching Assistants

Dylan Gorman
Office hours: Thurs 2:00 - 3:00 pm in 412 O'Brien

Daniel Freeman
Office hours: M 1:00 - 2:00 pm in 412 O'Brien


Questions about the course material and homeworks can be discussed on the Piazza page,

Course Outline


Lecture notes

Date Topic Notes
8/29 States and measurement [pdf]
9/3 Entangled states, density matrices, Hermitian operators, commutators, functions of operators [pdf]
9/5 Spins and the Bloch Sphere [pdf]
9/10 Spin resonance [pdf]
9/12 Two qubit gates, the circuit model, teleportation [pdf]
9/17 Computational complexity, superdense coding and the Deutsch-Jozsa algorithm [pdf]
9/24 Measurement [pdf]
10/1 Generalized measurement, partial trace, and distance in state space [pdf]
10/3 Foundations, EPR and Bell's theorem [pdf]
10/8, 10/10 Introduction to quantum key distribution [pdf]
10/15 Open quantum systems: quantum process formulation [pdf]
10/17 Open quantum systems: Hamiltonian formulation and master equations [pdf]
10/22 Error suppression and prevention techniques [pdf]
10/24 Introduction to quantum error correction [pdf]
10/29 Fault tolerance and the threshold theorem [pdf]
10/31 Grover's Algorithm [pdf part 1] [pdf part 2]
11/5 Quantum Fourier Transforms [pdf]
11/7 Quantum phase estimation, finding eigenvalues [pdf]
11/12 Shor's period (order) finding algorithm and factoring [pdf]
11/14 Guest Lecture: Superconducting Qubits - Irfan Siddiqi [pdf]
11/19 Guest Lecture: Trapped Ion Qubits - Hartmut Haeffner [pdf]
11/21 Entanglement Measures [pdf]

Project List and Guidelines - Updated, October 23

The project is worth 40% of the grade. You should work in teams of 4. Please let us know if you have problems forming a team. Please let us know by email as soon as you have a team and a topic selected for your project. At the end of the semester each team will give a 12 minute oral presentation on their topic in class (December 3 and December 5). We will give feedback on these presentations and then each student will prepare an individual paper on that topic.
The link below contains some suggestions of broad topics for projects, in some cases together with a pointer to a good starting point for your exploration. Please feel free to google, use Google Scholar, or search on the quant-ph archive for more information on these or other topics.You should feel free to suggest any topic that you are interested in that is related to the themes of the course, but it should be approved by one of the instructors. Please email me ( by October 31, the composition of your team, the topic, and a one to two sentence description.

Project suggestions
You can find more project ideas on the webpage for the Spring 2012 iteration of this course.

Useful Links:

Recommended reading

On quantum computation

Mathematical background

On quantum mechanics in general