Introduction to Quantum Computing

Follow here for comics and classes on Quantum Computing updates every week.

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Quantum computing has been a hot topic since the past couple of years, especially with recent progress made in industry. However, there hasn't been enough materials to lead hobbyists into the subject, as most books and papers are written for professional academics and media articles are technically shallow. These hobbyists include scientists, engineers, developers and hackers who are highly technical but may not have a background in quantum computing. Even with a PhD in Applied Physics who studied quantum properties of materials, I did not know how quantum computers worked. As I started learning the subject, I realize that one does not need a degree in physics to understand quantum computing. All they need is some necessary math and physics foundations. This subject can be taught in a straightforward way at the right level. Once people know what goes into quantum computing, they will be able to dig deeper and demystify the subject.


I'm starting a virtual class on Hakcaday's Zoom channel. Dial in every Sunday at 2:30pm ET, 11:30am PT Join Microsoft Teams Meeting .

We will discuss a new topic for 30 mins every week. The topic will be based on my comics of the week below in the log. You can also follow my tweets, LinkedIn or Instagram posts to get the updates.    

You can also send questions and requests in the comments section below. I'll address them in the comics, in the comments or during the class. Past recordings are in the description of the slides under the "Files" areas.


As I've been teaching our employees at Microsoft, I've built up a series of systematic materials from basic concepts to algorithms to hardware systems, and a tutorial on Q# (Q-sharp) - a domain-specific programming language used for expressing quantum algorithms. Typically we took a few months to go through all the basic concepts. Every class was followed by a few Q# exercises. But it is do-able for a 2-hour workshop, such as the one at Hackaday Supercon. On November 15, 2019, I gave a workshop on a hands-on introduction to Quantum Computing at Supercon. Here are the slides for everyone.  It might felt like a lot to people who encountered the concepts for the first time. But if they go back to the slides now, they'll be able to recall and digest at their own pace. The workshop was also on high demand. We didn't have enough space for more people. So anyone who missed it can take a look at the slides which hopefully can give them directions to study further.  

Please feel free to post any questions and discussions in this project page. And any mistakes to correct in the slides. I'll try to answer them here. Enjoy!

Slides April 5.pptx


presentation - 3.02 MB - 04/05/2020 at 20:19


Slides March 29.pptx

Here's the slides from the first live class session. The first recording is here:

presentation - 4.57 MB - 03/29/2020 at 19:25


Adobe Portable Document Format - 7.64 MB - 11/19/2019 at 22:25


  • Page 13 & 14

    artbyphysicistkitty14 hours ago 0 comments

    Since there's been so much confusion on this entanglement, I'll show what it is NOT.

  • Pages 11 & 12

    artbyphysicistkitty4 days ago 0 comments

    Quantum mechanics explained with interference. With all the possibilities in our world, we are just observing the events that are the most likely, resulted from interference!

    I should probably make some additional pages on complex numbers. But will prioritize the next few topics that are more urgent. 

  • Pages 9 & 10

    artbyphysicistkitty04/01/2020 at 14:28 0 comments

    Emphasizing a bit more on amplitude. What's coming up is very exciting.

  • Pages 7 & 8

    artbyphysicistkitty03/29/2020 at 14:20 0 comments

    (First Sunday update) The contrast between "amplitude" Vs "probability" is very important, which helps build intuition to interpret measurements - will be explained later.  

  • Pages 5 & 6

    artbyphysicistkitty03/25/2020 at 21:21 0 comments

    First Wednesday update. More to come to explain these various concepts.

    For interested readers, Wikipedia articles on binary systems, early computers and Ada Lovelace are very good backgrounds.

  • Comics: Quantum Computing & some Physics

    artbyphysicistkitty03/22/2020 at 13:06 0 comments

    In the mist of the COVID-19 pandemic, I am bummed that I don't have a 3D printer and my sewing machine is still to be shipped from SF to my new home in Germany, with no supplies to join the PPE making :( But to contribute, in addition to donating to non-profits, I want to provide some support to people staying at home, with what I can do the best. 

    Every Sunday and Wednesday, I'll post a comic about quantum computing and some physics concepts. Watch out here for updates. I'll also post on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and possibly other media. I hope this can be of help for people spending time to learn new things. It will certainly be an exciting challenge for me as well. Feel free to share the contents and discuss in the comments. Also let me know any questions and topics you'd like me to draw.

View all 6 project logs

  • 1
    Hackaday classes every Sunday

    I'm starting a virtual class on Hakcaday's Zoom channel. Dial in every Sunday at 2:30pm ET, 11:30am PT here.

    We will discuss a new topic for 30 mins every week. The topic will be based on my comics of the week.  

View all instructions

Enjoy this project?



Robert E. Griffith wrote a day ago point

Hi Marcelo, in the Files section above you will find  the first two video classes and their accompaning slides. Note that the video  URLs do not come in as links for me so I had copy and paste them.  The third meeting will be next Sunday.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Marcelo Costa wrote a day ago point

Just joined! I am new to Quantum Computing. Where do I start?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Robert E. Griffith wrote 2 days ago point

(programming note: anyone know how I  can subscribe to this discussion so that I get emails when someone posts a message?)

When I started investigating quantum computing a while ago, I got caught up on one question in particular. I followed a video explanation of Grovers algorithm pretty well (not that I could still follow it without some work) but I could not understand how the oracle function could be implemented. If the oracle function is classical, how does it interact with the quantum gate logic? If the oracle function is not classical, what does it look like and does it limit the application to a certain type of problem?


  Are you sure? yes | no

artbyphysicistkitty wrote 9 hours ago point

Thank you, Bob. Will answer that when we get to Grover's algorithm. Working on a visual way to represent it. (Not sure if people can notifications when there's a message. Do you get a notification when I post something?)

  Are you sure? yes | no

Robert E. Griffith wrote 3 days ago point

this is not the easiest place to find. Kitty, maybe you need a link on your pages.

To be clear, when I came to hackaday without an account and seached for "quantum computing", this did not make the cut. I only got uear+ old articals from AI Williams. I had to click on 'tab', create and account and then I found you easily.

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artbyphysicistkitty wrote 2 days ago point

We will publicize the next meetings with this project page. I'll also include it in my posts. Thanks!

  Are you sure? yes | no

artbyphysicistkitty wrote 5 days ago point

Making a note of the questions from the first class. Some I had addressed in the class. I may come back to address more in future classes or comics. If anyone else would like to answer them, feel free to add comments. 

"I don't know lots of maths , am I safe?"

"why we square the amplitudes?"

"you showed that we can represent quantum states with vectors mathematically but could explain its physical significance?"

"Thanks Kitty, this is really interesting. Another vote for a session on the hardware"

"One question you mention you worked on photonics if I recall correctly, you mind giving more info about it?"

"does Microsoft have a quantum computer like IBM? (i remember they have a site where you can run examples on it)"

"any cloud access to a QC available?"

"I'd like to know if quantum machine learning is limited only to parameterized quantum circuits,"

"Are the tutorials for quantum circuits on NISQ devices or on universal quantum computers?"

-"Any reading recommendations beyond Quantum Computing: An Applied Approach, or Quantum Computing for Software Engineers? I’m interested in hardware designs, and deeper mathematical QC algorithm / circuit design. Not a lot of depth colocated for advanced readers with QM backgrounds."

-"If it's not too late, I have another question:Do you have any recent estimation about how far we are from manufacturable? (10, 20, 30 years?)"

-"also what languages will we writing code in if any ?"

-"Any open source hardware?"

-"please could you mention a bit about deep learning algorithms used in quantum computing if any?"

-"are there softwares that one can use to reinforce ones understanding?"

  Are you sure? yes | no

Edward C. Deaver, IV wrote 03/30/2020 at 03:00 point

On Slide 14 from the March 29th slides, the comic shows Qubits like a ratio of 0 and 1. I was wondering is there a limit to how large the denominator in that ratio can be or is there a limit to the resolution of a Qubit? Ex. 1/4 of 0 and 3/4 of 1 vs 1/99999 of 0 and 99998/99999 of 1.

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artbyphysicistkitty wrote 5 days ago point

Great question, Edward. (By the way, the examples should be sqrt(1/99999) of 0 and sqrt(99998/99999) of 1 if we are talking about amplitudes.) The limit in resolution we experience in classical computers are due to the bits being digital and discrete, while the amplitudes in qubits are analogue and continuous. In theory, there shouldn't be any limit - the amplitudes can be any number as long as the total probability is 1. But then, in practice in physical systems we can never truly be so precise. It depends on the types of quantum hardware and how they form qubits, which I will show in later classes. For example, superconducting qubits will rely on the resolution of the microwave frequency that tunes the circuit to the corresponding qubit state. Or a topological qubit may rely on the resolution of the magnetic flux applied to the nanowire. They all have unique pros and cons based on the setup. The precision of the setup may certainly contribute to error. And error correction is an active field of research in quantum computing. But then this source of error may not be a major one. The more fundamental problem for error correction is how easily decoherence happens, as the qubits entangle with their environment if not isolated properly. Definitely an interesting area of research!       

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Alexander wrote 11/22/2019 at 14:19 point

Seems to be very well prepared lecture. Sadly, slides alone aren't giving much understanding, sure would like to see a video of your workshop.

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artbyphysicistkitty wrote 11/25/2019 at 02:28 point

Unfortunately some workshops were not recorded. I do have a written version of the materials. Hopefully will be able to publish it soon.

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artbyphysicistkitty wrote 03/22/2020 at 12:47 point

Just updated the project. Producing a comic series explaining quantum computing. Hope this helps!

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Dan Maloney wrote 11/21/2019 at 17:03 point

This was one of the workshops on my list that I didn't make it to, which is too bad because I really wanted to get some QC background. Thanks for posting the material!

  Are you sure? yes | no

artbyphysicistkitty wrote 11/22/2019 at 05:51 point

You are welcome! Thank you.

  Are you sure? yes | no

artbyphysicistkitty wrote 03/22/2020 at 12:53 point

I'm now updating the material with comics. I'll post a new page every Sunday and Wednesday. Let me know topics you'd like me to explain. I'll also direct people to programming exercise.      

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