Online course

Understanding Quantum Computers

Explore the key concepts of quantum computing and find out how it’s changing computer science with this introductory course.

Get an introduction to the key concepts of quantum computing

In this course, we will discuss the motivation for building quantum computers, cover the important principles in quantum computing, and take a look at some of the important quantum computing algorithms.

We will finish with a brief look at quantum computing hardware and the budding quantum information technology industry.

Key concepts will be explained graphically, with minimal mathematics but some deep thinking required.

[* Note in Japanese] 本コースでは、ビデオの日本語字幕および全テキストの日本語PDFが提供されています。

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Skip to 0 minutes and 9 secondsQuantum computers are going to change the world by changing what it's possible for us to compute. They will break some types of encryption, solve many optimization problems, and compute characteristics of materials like agricultural fertilizers. My name is Rod Van Meter, of the Faculty of Environment and Information Studies of Keio University Maybe you're thinking about studying quantum computers in college, or maybe you're already a professional programmer and are wondering how they work and when they will impact your own area. But you've heard that they are extremely difficult to understand. Sometimes the field is portrayed as brilliant scientists in exotic labs using the spookiest, most obscure effects of quantum mechanics to build science fiction computers, capable of practically anything.

Skip to 0 minutes and 57 secondsYou probably imagine a quantum computers looking something like this. In fact, anyone with a grasp of high school mathematics can understand quantum computers.

Skip to 1 minute and 14 secondsWe'll begin right here at the beach. If you understand how waves work, you are well on your way to understanding quantum computers. At this place, we have waves coming from two different directions. From here, and from here. Where the ripples come together, in some places they add up, and in other places they subtract. This phenomenon is called interference, and interference is one of the keys to understanding quantum computers. We'll also talk about quantum entanglement and the other features that distinguish quantum computers from the computer you're watching this on now. You will learn how several key quantum algorithms work, and why we are excited about their possibilities.

Skip to 1 minute and 56 secondsWe will discuss some of the key technologies for building quantum computers and see some of the exciting progress being made in the lab. Before we finish up, you will also learn about the budding quantum information technology industry, about the big companies, startup companies and venture funds seeking to translate the ideas from the lab to machines that solve some of Mankind's most pressing problems and make the world a better place.

What topics will you cover?

  • Waves and interference
  • Quantum superposition and entanglement
  • Computational complexity
  • The quantum Fourier transform
  • Shor’s algorithm for factoring large numbers
  • Grover’s algorithm
  • Quantum chemistry and machine learning
  • Physical phenomena as quantum bits (qubits)
  • Quantum computing hardware and architecture
  • Quantum error correction
  • The quantum information technology industry

When would you like to start?

  • Available now
    This course started 1 October 2018

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you'll be able to...

  • Describe a few key applications of quantum computing
  • Explain the role of quantum computing in the future and recognize the role of Moore’s Law in the future of computing
  • Prepare for a mathematical course in quantum information concepts
  • Explore the value proposition in available and forthcoming quantum information technology products
  • Identify the importance of quantum superposition, entanglement and interference in quantum algorithms

Who is the course for?

Anyone interested in quantum computing at the “popular science” level.

High school students, college students, and computer professionals interested in developing a qualitative understanding of quantum computing in order to understand the future of computing will benefit.

We recommend that you be comfortable with exponents, vectors, sine waves and the basic concepts of probability. There are some equations, but we have endeavored to keep them as few and clear as possible.

While the mathematics is not too hard, some concepts will be new to most learners, and require some mental stretching. Be prepared to exercise your brain!

Who will you learn with?

Rodney Van Meter

Rodney Van Meter studied at Caltech, USC, and Keio. He has been working on quantum computing since 2003. He is the author of the book "Quantum Networking" (Wiley-ISTE, 2014).

Takahiko Satoh

Takahiko Satoh studied at Keio and U.Tokyo. His research field is quantum computing, especially quantum computer architecture and quantum network architecture.

Who developed the course?

Keio University is Japan’s first modern institution of higher learning, and since 1858 has established itself as a leader in Japan through its continued commitment to education, research and medicine.

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