Quantum Computing

  • Viv KendonEmail author
Reference work entry
Part of the Encyclopedia of Complexity and Systems Science Series book series (ECSSS)


Analog computing

Encoding into a continuous variable and processing in a continuous-time evolution.


A type of quantum particle that can only exist in two dimensions and that has exotic statistics when two identical particles are exchanged.


A two-state classical system used to represent a binary digit, zero or one.


A communications channel in computer architecture to provide a high-speed link between different elements of memory or processing registers.

Bose-Einstein particles

Integer spin quantum particles like to be together: any number can occupy the same quantum state.

Classical computing

How we compute using classical logic and conventional computational devices.


What we can in principle compute with given physical resources (some things are uncomputable).

Computational complexity

How fast we can compute with given physical resources (some things are harder to compute than others).

Digital computing

Encoding into bits or qubitsand processing...


Books and Reviews

  1. For those still struggling with the concepts (which probably means most people without a physics degree or other formal study of quantum theory), there are plenty of popular science books and articles. Please dive in: it’s the way the world we all live in works, and there is no reason to not dig in deep enough to marvel at the way it fits together and puzzle with the best of us about the bits we can’t yet fathom.Google Scholar
  2. For those who want to learn the quantitative details and machinery of quantum computing, this is still the best textbook: Quantum Computation and Quantum Information: (10th Edition). Michael A. Nielsen, Isaac L. Chuang. ISBN 10: 1107002176 ISBN 13: 9781107002173. Publisher: CUP, Cambs., UKGoogle Scholar
  3. I have cited a number of accessible review articles and books in the primary literature. Especially useful among these are Venegas-Andraca (2012) on quantum versions of random walks; Lidar and Brun (2013), Devitt et al. (2009), and Paler and Devitt (2015) for quantum error correction; Pachos (2012) and Brennen and Pachos (2007) for topological quantum computing; and Brown et al. (2010) for quantum simulation.Google Scholar
  4. For the latest experimental details, the websites of the major academic and commercial players are the best up-to-date source of information. I have highlighted a few already in the main text, notably IBM Q where you can use their demonstrator 5 and 16 qubit transmon quantum computers (current as of July 2017) and D-Wave Inc., who build quantum annealers with thousands of superconducting qubits.
  5. Key academic research to watch includes Bristol Centre for Quantum Photonics. for photonic quantum processors and another online demonstrator; QuTech in Delft; Google Santa Barbara John Martinis group JILA in Colorado JQI in Maryland for ion trap quantum simulators (and much else); and NQIT Oxford for modular ion trap quantum computers.
  6. Many of these websites include overviews and tutorials suitable for beginners.Google Scholar
  7. This is a fast-moving area, with major funding in the form of a European Union Quantum Technology Flagship, large national funding programs, and new companies starting up. Exciting developments are promised in the near future.Google Scholar

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.JQC and Atmol, Department of PhysicsDurham UniversityDurhamUK

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