Quantum Information Theory and Computation

instructor nicolas macris
office inr 134
phone +4121 6938114
email nicolas.macris@epfl.ch
lectures fridays 11h15 – 13h, room inr 113
exercises fridays 14h15 – 16h, room inr113

Special announcements

The exam dates and times have been set up on Jan 18 and Jan 25. For those who present a paper plan to talk 40 mins on the board or on slides and keep 20 mins for questions. The presentation should be understandable by peope who have never read the paper. If you have not announced yourself, or do not know when is your date and time of exam, or want to discuss your presentation beforehand, please contact me by email

This course is a one semester course given once every two years.


It appears that today one is able to manipulate matter at the nanoscale, so that although the technology does not yet exist, information processing may have to take into account the laws of quantum physics. This course introduces the theoretical concepts and methods that have been developped in the last two decades to take advantage of guenuine quantum ressources. We will see how the concepts of bit and entropy, and Shannon’s theory can 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. No prerequisite in quantum mechanics is needed.

Contents: 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.


Date QM, Qbits, Cryptography Notes, Exercices
W1 Experiments with light, analyzers and polarizers chap1.pdf chap1bis.pdf
W2 Mathematical formalism of quantum mechanics chap2.pdf
W3 Quantum key distribution protocols chap3.pdf
W4 Quantum entanglement chap4.pdf
W5 Continuation of above chap4.pdf
Date Quantum Information Theory Notes, Exercises
W6 Density matrix formalism chap5.pdf
W7 Quantum entropy chap6.pdf
W8 Accessible information and source coding chap7.pdfchap7bis.pdfexercisesW8.pdf
W9 Capacity theorems chap8.pdfexercisesW9.pdf
Date Computation and Error Correction Notes, Exercises
W10 Models of computation lect10.pdflect10bis.pdf
W11 Hidden subgroup and QFT lect11.pdfexercises.pdf
W12 Factoring algorithm qftcircuit.pdffactoring.pdf
W- Search algorithm  
W- Quantum error correction  


Course notes

in principle, are posted weekly


the students may choose between oral exam or small project

Additional reading material


  • 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)


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


  • 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)


  • For an emphasis on computer science aspects Quantum computing, by Mika Hirvensalo, Springer Verlag (2001)


  • See the Feynman lectures on Physics, vol 3 by Richard P. Feynman, Robert B. Leighton, Matthew Sands (1998) Addison Wesley


  • An interesting book on quantum mechanics with emphasis on the conceptual framework Quantum theory:concepts and methods, by Asher Peres, Kluwer Academic Publishers (1995)


  • For those who want to learn real quantum mechanics Quantum Mechanics by Albert Messiah, ed Dover (two volumes bound as one)










  • on error correcting codes (by Shrinivas Kudekar)


  • on error correcting codes (by Ghid Maatouk)