Quantum Computing through Comics

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.


We will be back to normal time on August 9 Sunday at 11:30am PDT. Same dial-in Join Microsoft Teams Meeting 

Weekly Sunday class co-hosted by HackadayU and Microsoft Reactor:

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!

Slides July 26.pdf

Session 15: Grover's algorithm number of iterations Recording:

Adobe Portable Document Format - 1.13 MB - 07/26/2020 at 19:27


Slides July 19.pdf

Session 15: Grover's algorithm + coding Recroding:

Adobe Portable Document Format - 1.79 MB - 07/19/2020 at 19:29


Slides July 12.pdf

Session 14: CHSH Game Recording:

Adobe Portable Document Format - 1.54 MB - 07/12/2020 at 19:29


Slides June 28.pdf

Session 13: Teleportation + coding Recording: Controlled Z documentation:

Adobe Portable Document Format - 2.31 MB - 06/28/2020 at 19:54


Slides June 21.pdf

Session 12: Entanglement + superdense coding + coding Recording:

Adobe Portable Document Format - 2.24 MB - 06/21/2020 at 19:43


View all 19 files

  • Pages 41 & 42

    artbyphysicistkittya few seconds ago 0 comments

    Finally we are on to Shor's algorithm!

    Nice to see when people tell me where during the course quantum computing clicked for them.

  • Special events

    artbyphysicistkitty07/26/2020 at 19:12 0 comments

    We won't have a class on Aug 2 but I will give a talk at this event on Thursday and a workshop on Sunday. Recordings will be available and shared here once available.

  • Page 40

    artbyphysicistkitty07/26/2020 at 14:17 0 comments

    The proof of the number of iterations needed in Grover's algorithm can be done trigonometrically. It's pretty neat.

  • Page 39

    artbyphysicistkitty07/19/2020 at 14:37 0 comments

    Today we revisit and code Grover's algorithm!

    Drawing down my understanding really has helped me gaining more intuitions. 

  • Pages 37 & 38

    artbyphysicistkitty07/12/2020 at 14:12 0 comments

    In today's class we will see how quantum entanglement and the clever use of measurement basis help Alice and Bob increase the probability of winning the CHSH game. 

  • 3 key concepts and confusions

    artbyphysicistkitty06/28/2020 at 14:26 2 comments

    You might have heard of the terms on the left which cause much confusion and myths about quantum computing. We should update with the correct descriptions on the right. 

  • Page 36

    artbyphysicistkitty06/21/2020 at 14:27 0 comments

    Using entanglement, we can send just one qubit but transmit information of two classical bits. Note this is very different from saying one qubit stores information of two classical bits. This latter statement is wrong. We will code the superdense coding algorithm today.

  • Pages 34 & 35

    artbyphysicistkitty06/14/2020 at 14:08 0 comments

    Yesterday was James Clerk Maxwell's birthday!

    Today's class will show more about interference and measurement, and also some beautiful physics. I hope it helps people see the universe in a different light. 

  • Page 33

    artbyphysicistkitty06/07/2020 at 14:33 0 comments

    Understanding what gates and basis are used for is useful to visualize a quantum state in multidimensional space. This also helps one see what's happening in algorithms such as Grover's, where basis is changed by H gates to enhance the amplitude of the state we are searching for. 

  • Learning with coding

    artbyphysicistkitty05/31/2020 at 14:15 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.

View all 30 project logs

View all 4 instructions

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Barry Burd wrote 07/02/2020 at 20:26 point

My question is about the Basic Gates kata, Task 2.3. Two-qubit gate - 3. I can do it by thinking intuitively about what gates do, but I don't want to rely on intuitions. I'm looking for a way to do it using only matrices (maybe by writing down the matrix for the multi-qubit transformation that I want to achieve, and factoring that matrix into the matrices for basic gates). Is there a way to do something like this?

  Are you sure? yes | no

artbyphysicistkitty wrote 07/03/2020 at 10:11 point

Hi Barry, for sure, you can express all quantum gates as matrices and qubits as vectors. For this question, you can write down the CNOT matrices and control and target qubits. 

  Are you sure? yes | no

Barry Burd wrote 07/04/2020 at 01:59 point

I have no doubt that I can express a sequence of basic gate operations with matrices. My question is, are there mathematical tools to find a sequence of operations to go from an arbitrary start state to a desired target state. The basic gates H, CNOT, and Phase45 are universal -- so is there a method to determine which of them to apply?

  Are you sure? yes | no

artbyphysicistkitty wrote 07/05/2020 at 14:18 point

Interesting thought. We can use the arbitrary general matrices that are described by each qubit's angles and then calculate what the angles are. Then we will find out which universal gates they are. We can calculate manually or express in a generic tool like Mathematica or MatLab. 2x2 matrix would be easy but as the matrices grow bigger, it can get messy.   

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syscomax wrote 06/24/2020 at 06:11 point

Enjoyed reading the article above , really explains everything in detail,the article is very interesting and effective.Thank you and good luck for the upcoming articles

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artbyphysicistkitty wrote 07/03/2020 at 10:07 point

Thank you.

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Ramkumar wrote 06/20/2020 at 08:50 point

Hi, I'm currently in class 3 where you explain quantum entanglement. Say, there are 3 quantum particles in entanglement. Is this ( 1 ∕√2 | 000> + 1 /√2 | 111> ) the only possible configuration. I guess they can be entangled in any possible ways.

If yes, consider the state ( 1 ∕√2 | 010> + 1 ∕√2 | 011> ). Here if we observe the first two particles, the third particle's state cannot be determined. On the other hand, it is enough to observe only third particle. Is this valid entanglement?

  Are you sure? yes | no

artbyphysicistkitty wrote 06/20/2020 at 14:24 point

Hi, thanks for asking. We can entangle them in many different ways. ( 1 ∕√2 | 000> + 1 /√2 | 111> ) is a maximally entangled state. The amplitude in front of each term can also be different. The example you gave does not have the three qubits entangled though. When we measure the third qubit (or any qubit), we still won't know what the other two qubits are. It is not different from writing 1 ∕√2 | 01>(|0>+|1>) then we can see the first two qubits are not correlated with the last qubit. Whereas in the case of ( 1 ∕√2 | 000> + 1 /√2 | 111> ) we cannot write them as separate qubits.

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Ramkumar wrote 06/21/2020 at 04:30 point

Now I understood the correlation part. Thank you for the clear explanation.

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mulder-48 wrote 06/10/2020 at 12:13 point

Found the first on the YouTube channel. Thanks

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artbyphysicistkitty wrote 06/11/2020 at 13:32 point

Thank you :)

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mulder-48 wrote 06/10/2020 at 09:02 point

Hi, Sorry to asked but I can not find the link for the first recorded session, Supercon quantum computing workshop share_Kitty Yeung.pdf. Thanks

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Hirmay Sandesara wrote 07/20/2020 at 05:53 point

Here's the link adress,

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olivialsn wrote 06/09/2020 at 06:03 point

there is superposition like 1/2(|00⟩+𝑖|01⟩−|10⟩−𝑖|11⟩), how to understand when there is imaginary part? for |01⟩, i^2 = -1, does it have a negative probability to appear? or we only consider the real part, so the probability of |01⟩ and |11⟩ is 0?

  Are you sure? yes | no

artbyphysicistkitty wrote 06/11/2020 at 12:59 point

Great that you are asking about this! Thank you. I have not mentioned this part in order to reduce the math for beginners. We cannot have negative probability. In fact, it should be the modulus | i |^2 that we calculate for probability, so the amplitude can be any number. If you express an imaginary number with magnitude and phase, you will see that it is the magnitude (always positive) squared that gives the probability. I can show this detail in one of the next classes. Glad we are ready. 

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Barry Burd wrote 06/08/2020 at 20:58 point

Can anyone help me with setting up the katas on my local computer? I'm working on Windows but I can also try using a Mac. I was able to open a notebook but I kept getting messages that the server couldn't obtain a lock (apparently from dotnet). Then I saw a note about uninstalling microsoft.quantum iqsharp and installing a particular version. When I try to reinstall iqsharp, I get an error message Failure to install and it gives four possible reasons.

Frankly, I'm lost because I'm not an experienced dotnet or jupyter user. If anyone has time for a brief online help session, that would be great.

  Are you sure? yes | no

artbyphysicistkitty wrote 06/11/2020 at 13:32 point

Hi Barry, sorry to hear your experience with the installation was not smooth. Let me know which instruction you were using and I can see how to update it. There are several ways to run quantum program locally: I personally prefer the Q# command line application option. The instruction guides you to install VS Code and install the QDK extension there. Then you can clone the katas repo and run the .qs files lovally. No iqsharp is need for this one. You can also try this hands-on guide: where it walks you through the above step by step. It also teaches how to build a quantum random number generator if you are interested in finishing the whole tutorial.

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


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? 

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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

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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 

Saturday morning at 7 am EDT

I'm looking forward to her talk

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

Thank you! Looking forward to having you~

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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. 2. 3. 4. 5.

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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:

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.



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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.

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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.

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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.

  Are you sure? yes | no

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.

  Are you sure? yes | no

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. 

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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.

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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


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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." 

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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?


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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 '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

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