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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.

UPDATE: 

We are back to normal time Sunday at 11:30am PDT. Same dial-in Join Microsoft Teams Meeting 

Starting from May 31 we will be doing more coding and inviting the Microsoft Reactor community to join us here: https://www.meetup.com/Microsoft-Reactor-Redmond/events/270889528/

For phone options:

+1 323-849-4874   United States, Los Angeles (Toll)

Conference ID: 636 979 670# 

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!

Virtually MakerFaire special edition.pdf

Introductory overview Recording: https://youtu.be/MoWw-BrQfhw

Adobe Portable Document Format - 2.54 MB - 05/31/2020 at 20:53

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Slides May 31.pdf

Session 9: Superposition + coding Recording: https://youtu.be/XmWzbaAkpUQ

Adobe Portable Document Format - 6.33 MB - 05/31/2020 at 20:48

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Slides May 17.pdf

Session 8: Grover's Algorithm Recording: https://youtu.be/XRQifoiaetU

Adobe Portable Document Format - 1.79 MB - 05/17/2020 at 19:54

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Slides May 10.pdf

Session 7: Quantum Oracle & Duetsch-Jozsa Algorithm Recording: https://youtu.be/pMCqD9WSYwQ

Adobe Portable Document Format - 2.39 MB - 05/10/2020 at 19:33

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Slides May 3.pdf

Session 6: Quantum Hardware Recording: https://youtu.be/pv4031OKi8s

Adobe Portable Document Format - 3.28 MB - 05/03/2020 at 19:48

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  • Learning with coding

    artbyphysicistkittya day ago 0 comments

    This week, we will start doing more coding as a way to practice our understanding. We will use the high-level quantum language Q# to demonstrate how to apply our knowledge in quantum computing concepts and linear algebra and express algorithms, which are eventually run on quantum hardware. 

    To really understand a subject, especially physics-related, one needs to be able to reproduce words, equations and drawings to self-check if they truly understand. I will also provide some tips on how to identify and avoid bullshit in one's study of this subject.
     

  • Virtually Maker Faire class

    artbyphysicistkitty05/22/2020 at 14:22 0 comments

    **UPDATE**

    Recording here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MoWw-BrQfhw

    Note the time change of this weekend's quantum computing class. We will be aligning with Virtually Maker Faire Updated time is Saturday May 23 at 4-5 am PT, 1-2p m CET. Same dial-in.

    I'll be doing a 1-hour recap of the concepts we covered in previous classes, especially to help newcomers catch up.

    Maker Faire info here: https://makerfaire.com/maker/entry/72415/

  • Microsoft //Build & MS Learn

    artbyphysicistkitty05/20/2020 at 16:33 0 comments

    The quickest way to learn about the latest development on quantum computing is to listen to the Microsoft //Build talks on quantum computing and get hands-on through the newly developed MS Learn modules. (Thanks to all the users who contributed in our UX research!)

    • Want to learn more about #quantumcomputing? Come hang out and learn with our team at the upcoming virtual Azure Quantum Developer Workshop! Register here: https://aka.ms/aqdw
    • We’re making it easier for developers to get started with #quantum with 2 new learning modules available for free on @MicrosoftLearn. Check them out: https://aka.ms/learnqc

  • Pages 31 & 32

    artbyphysicistkitty05/17/2020 at 14:07 0 comments

    We will discuss the cool and funky Grover's algorithm.

  • Certificate 2

    artbyphysicistkitty05/13/2020 at 13:55 0 comments

    So excited to see people posting their completions of quantum katas and getting the Certificate 1. Today I announce the Certificate 2 - The Out-of-the-Box Thinker quiz on quantum history. Same participation rule. 

    You can still work on the katas and get Certificate 1, like they did:

  • Pages 29 & 30

    artbyphysicistkitty05/10/2020 at 13:49 0 comments

    We will introduce some famous academic quantum algorithms, starting with the useless yet useful Deutsch-Josza algorithm. It demonstrates the power of interference and entanglement in one go. 

  • Certificate 1

    artbyphysicistkitty05/06/2020 at 14:08 0 comments

    As mentioned in the last Sunday class, I'll be giving out certificates to people who complete quantum tasks. The first certificate is a vector graph of the hacked Schrödinger's cat. You can use it as you wish, printing on shirts, hats, masks, stickers, magnets, etc. It will be awarded to people who finish any one of the quantum katas: https://github.com/microsoft/QuantumKatas What you need to do:

    1. Pick any one of the quantum katas;
    2. Finish from beginning to the end;
    3. Take a screenshot or photo;
    4. Post on Twitter or LinkedIn;
    5. Tag the following:

    Twitter: @KittyArtPhysics @MSFTQuantum @QSharpCommunity @Hackaday #QSharp #QuantumComputing #Physics #comics

    LinkedIn: @Kitty Y. M. Yeung #MSFTQuantum @Hackaday #QSharp #QuantumComputing #Physics #comics

  • Pages 27 & 28

    artbyphysicistkitty05/03/2020 at 13:57 0 comments

    To understand quantum computing hardware requires knowledge in condensed matter physics. We will use the Sunday class to explain more. 

  • Pages 25 & 26

    artbyphysicistkitty04/29/2020 at 14:30 1 comment

    There are many ways to make quantum hardware. We will start from a fundamental level and describe different kinds.

  • BONUS!

    artbyphysicistkitty04/26/2020 at 20:10 1 comment

    People were suggesting having some sort of certificate for attending the class (I will think about how to do that!) and suggested T-shirts. Well, T-shirts are boring. How about some cuff earring? 3D printed Schrödinger's cat, life & death in superposition. Available for purchase at www.kittyyeung.com I'll probably make a tutorial of how this was done when I'm less busy ;)

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John Cronin wrote 05/24/2020 at 10:53 point

Kitty,

your presentation at the Makers' Faire was excellent. And actually your second about fashion was interesting. 

I have a question, what is your recommendation for a beginning quantum mechanics text and a good math review text. I feel comfortable with restarting my undergrad calculus.

Thank you

  Are you sure? yes | no

artbyphysicistkitty wrote 05/24/2020 at 11:23 point

Hi John, thank you for attending both sessions. 

For quantum mechanics, a widely used one is Introduction to Quantum Mechanics by David Griffith. 

A book on quantum computing that everyone uses is: Nelson and Chaung, Quantum Computation and Quantum Information – 10 th Anniversary Edition (you can find free PDFs to download). It's not the most easy to read though. I heard this one is pretty good: Quantum Computing: An Applied Approach, and Quantum Computing for Software Engineers.  

If you are interested in hardware (not specifically for quantum computers), I loved Introduction to Solid State Physics by Charles Kittel.

For math...maybe the standard high-school and undergrad textbooks from China? See if they have translations into English. I haven't used textbooks for math for a while. My undergrad was in England and can't remember what we used there. The lecture notes were pretty good. Are you in the UK? 

  Are you sure? yes | no

John Cronin wrote 05/25/2020 at 12:41 point

Thanks for the book recommendations.

I live in Delaware, recently retired from pharma industry, PhD in analytical chemistry. Now I can pursue my intellectual hobbies. I needed a refresher in linear algebra and matrices.

I looked at the chem quantum stuff. It is above my knowledge but it is the same old boring stuff with H atoms. As an analyst I am more interested in finding signals in the noise.

Thank you for your help

  Are you sure? yes | no

John Cronin wrote 05/22/2020 at 23:32 point

oops I just happened to find it

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John Cronin wrote 05/22/2020 at 23:31 point

Look Kitty is at the Maker Faire 

https://makerfaire.com/virtually-maker-faire-2020/schedule/ 

Saturday morning at 7 am EDT

I'm looking forward to her talk

  Are you sure? yes | no

artbyphysicistkitty wrote 05/23/2020 at 08:59 point

Thank you! Looking forward to having you~

  Are you sure? yes | no

Helen Ma wrote 04/27/2020 at 01:26 point

Hi class, this is a good class. I also recommend you to join weekdays/Saturday free virtual meetup events to meet quantum computing experts from Xanadu, Rigetti, Harrisburg University, QC Ware , Udemy, BEIT, Cambridge Quantum Computing and so on. Here are my groups: 1. https://www.meetup.com/Washington-Quantum-Computing-Meetup/ 2. https://www.meetup.com/Philadelphia-Harrisburg-Quantum-Computing-Meetup-Group/ 3. https://www.meetup.com/zen4maker/ 4. https://www.meetup.com/association-quantum/ 5. https://www.meetup.com/quantum-computing-and-big-data/

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artbyphysicistkitty wrote 04/27/2020 at 08:58 point

Thank you, Helen!

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mraarone wrote 04/26/2020 at 21:55 point

I was looking for a good book as a handbook for my Quantum Theory studies to review and discuss Lie groups, Clifford Algebras, SU(2), tensors, spintors, and just a bunch of fundamentals that are spotty in my past. I found this book where the author shares it freely on the Internet (I'm buying it from Amazon because I'm a nice guy).

If you're interested, the book is called "Quantum Theory, Groups and Representations: An Introduction" by Peter Woit.

He makes it publicly available a la his professor's site at Columbia:

http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/QM/fall-course.pdf

Maybe more technical than most would want, but for those looking to read deeper with a companion handbook for the formalism behind the physical application, this seems to cover a lot that I have been looking for in a bunch of other books.

Enjoy!

Aaron

  Are you sure? yes | no

artbyphysicistkitty wrote 04/27/2020 at 08:59 point

Thanks, Aaron. If you like to give a presentation when you are ready, let me know.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Robert E. Griffith wrote 04/15/2020 at 13:07 point

Hey Kitty, I was reviewing past slides and I have a question about number 11 (about the weather).  I dont understand why there is a nagative amplituded in the quatum calculation. Is it a real example in that for these number this must be the correct calculation or is the negative case one of several possibilities. I wonder if the point of this slide is that there are solutions represented by both negative and positive terms and this just illustrates one example of what the solution could be.

  Are you sure? yes | no

artbyphysicistkitty wrote 04/15/2020 at 13:26 point

Yes, the negative sign was put there on purpose to show what happens if the amplitude can be negative, since in the quantum case the amplitude can be positive or negative.

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Barry Burd wrote 04/12/2020 at 22:12 point

Thank you, Robert. That's a good division of my question into parts.

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artbyphysicistkitty wrote 04/13/2020 at 10:46 point

Thanks Barry and Robert. 

There is a set of gates that can be combined to produce any arbitrary amplitude of a qubit. With three qubits, you will apply those gates to them individually so you get the a,b,c,d,e,f,g,h, you want.  A way to visualize a qubit is the Bloch sphere - a 3D representation of a qubit vector. You can write any arbitrary gates into a gate (matrix) to move the vector along the Bloch sphere.  This will exactly be the topic for the coming week. Watch out for my comics on Wednesday and Sunday. 

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Robert E. Griffith wrote 04/12/2020 at 21:50 point

(this is in response to the question Barry asked at the end of class and in the chat application)

Barry, I wonder if your question can be broken down into two parts. 1) given a 3qbit system with state amplitudes (a,b,c,d,e,f,g,h), what at the 3 qbit states that produce it and 2) how do you manipulate a qbit to have a particular state other that 0,1 and root(2)? 

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Barry Burd wrote 04/10/2020 at 23:46 point

Will this coming week's session be on Zoom again? I heard talk about moving to a more secure platform.

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artbyphysicistkitty wrote 04/11/2020 at 09:00 point

Thanks for asking. Yes, we will use Microsoft Teams moving forward. See updated link in the project description and instruction. 

  Are you sure? yes | no

Robert E. Griffith wrote 04/07/2020 at 20:00 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 04/07/2020 at 18:25 point

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

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artbyphysicistkitty wrote 04/11/2020 at 09:00 point

Here.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Marcelo Costa wrote 04/16/2020 at 12:16 point

I was looking for an answer like "watch the recording of the first class". Or "start by visiting the logs pages." 

  Are you sure? yes | no

artbyphysicistkitty wrote 04/16/2020 at 19:37 point

You got it ;) Recording, links, logs, slides are all in here. Please read the project details. 

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Robert E. Griffith wrote 04/06/2020 at 23:59 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?

--BobG 

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artbyphysicistkitty wrote 04/08/2020 at 19:22 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?)

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Robert E. Griffith wrote 04/05/2020 at 22:53 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 hackaday.io 'tab', create and account and then I found you easily.

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artbyphysicistkitty wrote 04/06/2020 at 17:51 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 04/03/2020 at 19:35 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 04/03/2020 at 19:15 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!

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

You are welcome! Thank you.

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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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