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Introduction to Quantum Computing

Learn the fundamentals of quantum computing and discover its real-world applications.

The dilution refrigirator at University College London. Image Credit: UCL

Explore the difference between classical and quantum computing with UCL

Quantum computing is a rapidly advancing technology with the potential to transform industry and society.

On this two-week course, you’ll use video, active learning tasks, and group discussion to develop an understanding of the key theories and concepts which underpin quantum computing.

Learn about qubits, superposition, and measurement

Facilitated by world-leading experts from University College London’s Quantum Science and Technology institute, you’ll be guided through the fundamentals of quantum theory without the need for any in-depth mathematical knowledge.

You’ll be introduced to the definitions and properties of qubits, before comparing the characteristics of classical bits and quantum bits.

You’ll also get to take part in a live workshop, allowing you to have your questions answered in real-time by experts in the field.

Examine the potential power of quantum computers

Building on your understanding of quantum computing processes, you’ll look to the future and discuss the potential power of quantum computing.

You’ll investigate the limits of classical computing and identify how quantum computing can push physics and quantum theory in new and innovative directions. You’ll also acknowledge the limitations of quantum computing, giving you a rounded overview of this technology’s possible trajectory.

Discover quantum computing algorithms and applications

In the second week of this course, you’ll put your learning into context, discovering real-life applications of quantum computing and the problems it can address.

By the end of this course, you’ll have gained an understanding of the theories and concepts that underpin quantum computing. You’ll have contextualised this knowledge, using real-world applications, and be able to discuss quantum computing’s advantages and limitations.


  • Week 1

    Classical vs Quantum

    • Welcome to the course

      Science in the 20th century was dominated by the space race, a bid by research, government, and industry, to achieve dizzying new heights. How is the race for a quantum computer its 21st century equivalent?

    • Classical vs quantum physics

      What is quantum physics and how does it differ from classical physics?

    • Qubits, superposition, and measurement

      Quantum computers have the potential to be exponentially more powerful than classical computers. Discover how qubits, the building blocks of quantum computers, can unleash that power.

    • Challenge

      An assignment providing you with the opportunity to apply the knowledge you have learnt so far.

    • Summary

      A reflection on Week 1 of the course, the discussions you have participated in and the implications of quantum for the world of computing.

  • Week 2

    Algorithms, applications and platforms

    • Algorithms

      Quantum computers are uniquely suited to solving algorithms that prove very challenging and time-consuming for classical computers.

    • Applications

      A discussion around the potential applications of quantum computers.

    • Platforms

      There is no one method of success with this emergent technology, and many companies have developed unique products. Let's examine these technologies and consider which may be leading the race.

    • The future of quantum computers

      Quantum computing has progressed rapidly since the 1990s, but what can we expect in the future? Moreover, with any new technology there are choices to be made. What key questions do we need to ask about responsible innovation?

    • Challenge

      Here we challenge you to draw together everything you've learnt in the course and provide feedback to your fellow learners.

    • Summary

      A summary of the key themes we have looked at in Week 2.

    • Live workshop

      This week features a live virtual workshop over video conferencing platform Zoom. The workshop provides an opportunity to apply some of the knowledge and skills you have learnt, as well as ask the tutors any questions you have.

Who is this accredited by?

The CPD Certification Service
The CPD Certification Service:

This course is accredited by CPD.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

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

  • Explain the key differences in non-mathematical terms between classical and quantum computers
  • Identify quantum computing hardware platforms by the technology they are based on
  • Outline the most promising applications of quantum computers and their limitations

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for industry professionals working in science, technology, engineering and adjacent fields such as public policy who want to further their knowledge of quantum computing and its applications.

It’s also suitable for those with a general interest in new and emerging technologies.

Who will you learn with?

Dan Browne is a Professor of Physics at University College London. His research specialism is the theory of quantum computers.

John Morton is a Professor of Nanoelectronics & Nanophotonics at University College London. He is Director of the UCL Quantum Science and Technology Institute.

Who developed the course?

UCL (University College London)

UCL was founded in 1826. It was the first English university established after Oxford and Cambridge, and the first to open up university education to those previously excluded from it.

What's included?

This is a premium course. These courses are designed for professionals from specific industries looking to learn with a smaller group of like-minded individuals.

  • Unlimited access to this course
  • Includes any articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes
  • Certificate of Achievement to prove your success when you're eligible
  • Download and print your Certificate of Achievement anytime

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