A free class on quantum computing

The people at Coursera have a free online class in quantum computing that will starting soon. The exact class is Quantum Mechanics and Quantum Computing and it will be taught by Umesh Vazirani of UC Berkeley.

Here's a description of what this class is all about:

Quantum computation is a remarkable subject, and is based on one of the great computational discoveries that computers based on quantum mechanics are exponentially powerful. This course aims to make this cutting-edge material broadly accessible to undergraduate students, including computer science majors who do not have any prior exposure to quantum mechanics. The course will introduce qubits (or quantum bits) and quantum gates, the basic building blocks of quantum computers. It will cover the fundamentals of quantum algorithms, including the quantum fourier transform, period finding, and Shor's iconic quantum algorithm for factoring integers efficiently. The course will also explore the prospects for quantum algorithms for NP-complete problems, quantum cryptography and basic quantum error-correcting codes.

The course will not assume any prior background in quantum mechanics. Instead, it will use the language of qubits and quantum gates to introduce the basic axioms of quantum mechanics. This treatment of quantum mechanics has the advantage of both being conceptually simple and of highlighting the paradoxes at the heart of quantum mechanics. The most important pre-requisite for the course is a good understanding of basic linear algebra, including orthogonal bases, eigenvectors and eigenvalues.

That doesn't sound like it will be too difficult, and it will probably be a good way to learn a useful thing or two about quantum computing, so I've signed up for the session that will start on July 17. With any luck, I haven't forgotten too much of the quantum mechanics that I once knew, so I won't feel too much behind the cutting-edge material that this class will cover.

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