In the 1990's it was realized that quantum physics has some spectacular applications in computer science. This book is a concise introduction to quantum computation, developing the basic elements of this new branch of computational theory without assuming any background in physics. It begins with an introduction to the quantum theory from a computer-science perspective. It illustrates the quantum-computational approach with several elementary examples of quantum speed-up, before moving to the major Shor's factoring algorithm, Grover's search algorithm, and quantum error correction. The book is intended primarily for computer scientists who know nothing about quantum theory, but will also be of interest to physicists who want to learn the theory of quantum computation, and philosophers of science interested in quantum foundational issues. It evolved during six years of teaching the subject to undergraduates and graduate students in computer science, mathematics, engineering, and physics, at Cornell University.
Nathaniel David Mermin (born 1935) is a solid-state physicist at Cornell University best known for the eponymous Mermin–Wagner theorem, his application of the term "Boojum" to superfluidity, and for the quote "shut up and calculate!" (in the context of the interpretation of quantum mechanics).
In 1976, Neil Ashcroft and Mermin published a textbook on solid-state physics. As a proponent of Quantum Bayesianism, Mermin described the concept in Nature.
In 2003, the journal Foundations of Physics published a bibliography of Mermin’s writing that included three books, 125 technical articles, 18 pedagogical articles, 21 general articles, 34 book reviews, and 24 "Reference Frame" articles from Physics Today.
A compact but excellent introduction to quantum computer science; very technical but accessible to anyone with a computer science and linear algebra background. Mermin is a good writer, and if you want to dig up his online talks, you'll find that he is also a very entertaining speaker.
An excellent and concise introduction to quantum computing. It covers the basics of quantum gates, construction and applications (RSA encryption, search) as well as important topics such as quantum error correction. It is an good resource for those who want to get the basic ideas and big picture of quantum computers.
The organization is extremely effective: Distracting details are redirected to the 16 appendices. The main text, about 160 pages, discusses all the important topics and techniques in a coherent flow. For this to be possible, Prof. Mermin performs magic arrangement of the contents so that readers can move from one to the next big thing in quantum computing smoothly without being lost in the mess of tricky (algebra) manipulations.
The writing is superb (and trademark of Prof. Mermin) with great clarity, concision and insights. Illustrations (quantum circuits) are also very clear and helpful. By breaking hard problems (search, period finding, error correction) to their cores and waking readers through their toy models, Prof. Mermin makes the book accessible for a broad audience: physicists, computer scientists and enthusiasts.If you are new to quantum computing (like I am), this is the must-read.
This book is, of course, an introduction, designed to be as short and simple as possible. However I think some additional contents would help: - Possible realizations of quantum computers (the book mentions only photons). - Some context why the problem is important in real world. For example, why should we care about "bit commitment"?
I am a software engineer by trade which means I use computers to solve real-world problems. I'm effective at that because I "get" classical computers, and can intuit what they can be made to do and how.
I hope someday to "get" quantum computers the same way. I have read a lot of popular science articles and books to try to get that understanding. I've delved in quantum mechanics which mathematics has been fascinating. Now I've read this book.
I still don't "get it".
The book's focus is on the mathematical formalism and not the "what the hell is going on?" intuition I want. At times it got me tantalizingly close; if you have read widely on the topic, there are sections in this book that will bring it all together in way that almost makes it all make sense. But I didn't quite get there.
I think it was worth the read, and I believe the 10% I retained is going to help eventually, but until I actually achieve some kind of insight I can't say this book helped. Hopefully I have to edit this later!
Good coverage of the basics. I like the comp science centric approach. A little hard to follow some of the finer details. Really thorough coverage of error correction. The author has an unusual view on the nature of quantum states, and insists on using qbit rather than qubit throughout. Be wary.