Introduction to Quantum Computing (Lecture 1) - Chris Ferrie - Medium

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Welcome to Introduction to Quantum Computing. I am your guide, Associate Professor Chris Ferrie, a researcher in the UTS Centre for Quantum Software and Information. This is Lecture 1. You are…
What will you learn this week?

This week is your quantum orientation. What is quantum as compared to classical computing? And, what is classical computing for that matter? You'll be introduced to the big picture and some of the tools you'll need in the subject. What will you be able to do at the end of this week 1?

At the end of this module, you should be able to answer these questions:

Why is digital computing called "classical" and my laptop called a "classical" computer?

When and why did quantum computing form as a field?

What is so exciting about quantum computing anyway?

What might power quantum computers?

Where can you find tools to do quantum programming and how do you use them? (The latter two will be covered in Lab 1. Link will be available after the lecture.)

What is classical computing?

Almost any discussion of quantum computing — whether it is in a research article, popular science magazine, or business journal — invokes some comparison to what is called "classical" computing. It's nearly impossible to talk about quantum computing without using the phrase. So, we better start there.

The term classical in classical computing is borrowed from conventions in physics. In physics, we often denote pre-1900 physics as "classical" and post-1900 physics as "modern". Modern physics includes general relativity and quantum physics. General relativity is Einstein's theory of curved space and time which explains the force of gravity. Computational theory might have some things to say about places of extreme gravity, like black holes, but we're going to stay grounded on Earth and won't say more about general relativity.

Often in quantum physics it is useful to compare the results of some theory or experiment to what classical physics might predict. And so there is a tradition of comparing quantum vs. classical. This was then adopted first not by computer scientists or engineers, but quantum physicists who started to study quantum computing. The adjective…
Chris Ferrie
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