Quantum Computation and Information Theory

instructor nicolas macris
office inr 134
phone +4121 6938114
email nicolas.macris@epfl.ch
lectures monday 10h15-12h00, room BC 02


Special announcements

No prerequisites in quantum mechanics and/or information theory are needed.
A draft of course notes will be updated weekly here draftDec14.pdf.
This is a 4 credit course. Exam form is oral.


The support of information is material. Today one is able to manipulate matter at the nanoscale were quantum behavior becomes important. It is possible that ultimately information processing will have to take into account the laws of quantum physics. This course introduces the theoretical concepts and methods that have been developed in the last 25 years to take advantage of guenuine quantum resources. We will see how the concepts of bit, entropy, and Shannon’s theory are extended to the quantum domain. We will emphasize the role of entanglement which is a distinctly quantum feature. We will also see how useful quantum parallelism can be in the theory of quantum computation.

Outline: the course is divided in three parts


  1. Introduction to quantum mechanics, Qbits and quantum cryptography.
  2. Quantum information theory.
  3. Quantum computation, and quantum error correcting codes.

A subset of the following topics will be treated in class.

Part 1: QM, Qbits, Cryptography  
Experiments with light, analyzers and polarizers  
Mathematical formalism of quantum mechanics  
Quantum key distribution protocols  
Quantum entanglement  
Part 2: Quantum Information Theory  
Density matrix formalism  
Quantum entropy  
Accessible information  
Source coding theorem  
Quantum channel models  
Channel capacity theorems  
Part 3: Computation and Error Correction  
Models of computation and Deutsch-Josza problem  
Hidden subgroup problem  
Period finding, Quantum Fourier Transform and Shor algorithm  
Search algorithm (Grover)  
Adiabatic quantum computation  
Quantum error correction  




  • A collection of reprinted articles can be found in Quantum computation and quantum information theory eds C. Macchiavello, G.M.Palma, A.Zeilinger world scientific (2000).
  • A review on quantum cryptography reviews of modern physics (2002)
  • Recent hacking of a QKD system based on BB84 nature comm (2011)



  • A rather complete reference Quantum Computation and Quantum Information, by Michael A. Nielsen and Isaac L. Chuang, Cambridge University Press (2004).
  • A book that covers quantum computing An introduction to quantum computing, by Phillip Kaye, Raymond Laflamme and Michele Mosca, Oxford University Press (2007).
  • For an emphasis on computer science aspects Quantum computing, by Mika Hirvensalo, Springer Verlag (2001).


For a more physical introduction


  • A small pedagogic book A short introduction to quantum information and quantum computation, by Michel Le Bellac, Cambridge University Press (2006).


To learn quantum mechanics seriously


  • Quantum Mechanics by Albert Messiah, ed Dover (two volumes bound as one).
  • Feynman lectures on Physics, vol 3 by Richard P. Feynman, Robert B. Leighton, Matthew Sands (1998) Addison Wesley.