World Quantum Day / Anthology
In occasion of World Quantum Day, our team compiled a list of the books, papers, videos and articles that had an impact on them in the course of their discovery of quantum computing.
Check out the list below to read the picks of our team and their thoughtful comments, and click on the titles to learn more.
Physics and Beyond by Werner Heisenberg
“This book is written by Werner Heisenberg, one of the founders of quantum physics who discovered the uncertainty principle. The German title of the book is self-explanatory: ‘Der Teil und das Ganze: Gespräche im Umkreis der Atomphysik’. It’s an amazing read on how a master mind of science perceives the universe as a whole while spending most of his time studying the behaviour of tiny blocks of the universe. The book guides you through the golden time of quantum physics, right in the middle of conversations among the founders. For me it was full of fun and amazement to be reading this book in the beginning of my undergraduate studies.”
Uncle Albert and the Quantum Quest by Russell Stannard
“This is a kids’ book which I found fascinating as a child. It was not about teaching you science directly but an adventure story of a girl experiencing it first hand: she shrunk down to tiny size where weird quantum effects started to take over, and had to help her crazy uncle with his research.”
“This paper convinced me that even noisy quantum computers can be useful. The authors established the computational power of Noisy Intermediate-Scale Quantum (NISQ) devices by introducing a new complexity class, called 𝖭𝖨𝖲𝖰, which represents problems that can be efficiently solved with a NISQ device and proved that not all of them are solvable by classical computers.”
“Minute Physics is one of the most popular physics channels on YouTube. They deal with many physics topics in a very special style: simple and concrete explanations, with nice freehand drawings. Of course, they also talk about quantum computing, although in this case, the video is a bit longer than one minute.”
“This is a short paper on how quantum computing can be applied to problems in chemistry. As a chemist myself, I find this area particularly fascinating. Although my background is in theoretical chemistry, there is still a lot to learn when considering how to use quantum computers to tackle chemical problems. This paper provides a gentle introduction but still covers many of the current areas of research in the field. It provided me with the key references to develop my understanding further.”
In Search of Schrödinger’s Cat by John Gribbin
“I came across the subject of quantum computing by accident because I was reading a book about the Unconscious which led me to Schrödingers ‘What is Life’. From there I also picked up a copy of ‘In Search of Schrödinger’s Cat’, at which point I became more informed. I was amazed by concepts such as the observer effect and the uncertainty principle. But what really stuck with me was this notion that quantum physics, the more I read, seemed to contradict everything I’d been taught. This idea that none of the laws of traditional physics made sense at a quantum level and that in fact there was a whole new set of laws and rules as we observed quantum phenomena was, and still is, pretty fascinating.”
Quantum Computing Since Democritus by Scott Aaronson
“I personally love Scott Aaronson’s blog Shtetl Optimized and have greatly enjoyed his book ‘Quantum Computing Since Democritus’. Scott is a world leading expert in quantum computing and complexity theory and a dead certain go-to for all things current and interesting in and around quantum computing. His writing and also his talks and lectures are both very instructive, deep and hilarious at the same time. I burst out laughing while reading the book several times. And, if you take nothing else from his blog, he at least wants you to understand that quantum computers won’t solve hard problems instantly by just trying all solutions in parallel :D”
“QWorld is a non-profit organization to popularize quantum computing. They offer several introductory courses where you can learn quantum algorithms while coding with Qiskit. The best part is that the courses are free!”
The Fermi Paradox by Tim Urban
“The concept of vast, empty, and unexplored space fascinates me. Space Sci-Fi movies and books are my favorite for this reason. You can travel through space with the mesmerizing narration of these amazing authors. But space and especially physics is so wonderful that even some realistic sounding essays such as ‘The Fermi Paradox’ by Tim Urban are enough to blow your mind.”
Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges
“This book is a beautiful example of how literature and science come close to the point of blurring. In particular, the story ‘The garden of forking paths’ tells us about a labyrinth not spatial, but temporal, almost like the behaviour of an electron in front of a double slit. Many years after the story, the many-world interpretation of quantum mechanics was proposed, which bears numerous similarities to the story.”
“This paper sparked my interest in exploring error mitigation techniques in quantum computing. The authors introduced a new method called variable-noise Clifford data regression (vnCDR). By generating training data from classically simulable near-Clifford circuits with varied noise levels, vnCDR learns how to correct observables on these circuits and extrapolate noiseless expectation values for the circuit of interest. The paper contained remarkable proofs, such as achieving zero loss on all arbitrary circuits if zero loss on training data composed of all possible Clifford circuits is obtained, and perfect mitigation of global depolarizing noise. These significant findings motivated me to delve deeper into the world of error mitigation techniques in various quantum applications.”
“For some, the prospect of having to wrangle big and scary equations might put them off ever thinking of getting into quantum computing either as an interest or professionally. If you’ve ever felt this way then you’re not alone— that fear and discomfort for scary equations still exists for me to this day.
Fortunately as it turns out, there is a way to convert any abstruse linear algebraic expression you might encounter in quantum mechanics entirely as a picture. What this means is that rather than slogging through dense lines of linear algebra to solve some equation, you can instead just draw pictures that follow rules simple enough for a kindergartener to understand, and arrive at the same result! This shocked and delighted me, and it will hopefully shock and delight you too.
I recommend this paper since it covers the main developments and achievements of doing quantum mechanics in pictures, and references plenty of stepping off points suitable for a wide level of skills.”