Series: Scientific and Engineering Computation
Paperback: 392 pages
Publisher: The MIT Press (August 29, 2014)
Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.6 x 9 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #337,294 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #21 in Books > Computers & Technology > Hardware & DIY > Mainframes & Minicomputers #1834 in Books > Computers & Technology > Computer Science
I wouldn't call this a 'gentle' introduction but I guess that would be relative. The material is presented fairly straight forward and cuts out a lot of unnecessary math. Don't misunderstand, you'll have to have some concepts of Linear Algebra to make it through the book. These are graduate level concepts so expect graduate level effort to understand these concepts. I purchased this book without adequate preparation in mathematics but I was able to follow the concepts. I'm now gaining the math knowledge needed and I'll go through the book a 2nd time.
This is my first introduction to this subject and I cannot compare it to other books on quantum computers. For a subject this complicated and often counter-intuitive, this book is very readable. It contains enough examples to understand each topic before moving on. There are also a lot of useful warnings about incorrect assumptions that the readers might carry over from vector spaces and linear algebra. The authors seem very in-tune to common misconceptions that the reader might have and they take time to correct them. The authors are not stingy about repeating definitions, facts and expanding notations where it is helpful. Still, don't expect to casually browse through this book unless you already know a lot about the subject. It takes work.
This is a good introduction to quantum computing, modulo a few things. I'm a mathematician, and I often found the calculations and concepts explained in a needlessly complicated way. For example, the definition and derivation of the density operator material was very opaque. A density operator is a positive operator with unit trace, so why not say that before getting into rather complicated calculations to illustrate its connections to the quantum state? The formalism invoked really muddied the waters. The same could be said about the material on measurement, and in a few other places. Otherwise, the book is excellent. The exercises are useful, and explanations are well thought out and written. Recommended.
I don't rank this book highest in my library of Quantum computer books, but it is one of the must reads. It is a must read because Quantum Computation and Informatin Science is still in its infancy and one source cannot help you understand what is going on. Eleanor Rieffel is quite respected in the field. Her book is one you read to get a different perspective or slant on what is quantum computing.But, it is written in a traditional text book front to back approach that requires you to read the whole book before you understand what is going on. I perfer to teach by providing the student or reader with a road-map of what is to come in the first chapter. Then follow up with the necessary details. This is an advance topic and not a freshman/junior topic. This allows the student to decide to drop out if it is over their head during the teaching of the first chapter.Therefore, I challenge the sub-title "A Gentle Introduction" and would suggest instead "An Alternative Introdution" I also challeng some one to write a book that is "A Gentle Introduction" to quantum computers that covers the basic difference between bits and qubits in a few chapters followed by the four categories of application opportunities (quantum factoring, quantum search, quantum data transportation, and quantum noise). The latter give people insight into where the money will be spent and the JOBS will be.
I used this book as a companion in my 4th year college nanoelectronics class, and it proved quite useful. The material is presented fairly well and has good examples and exercises. On the whole, it is a reliable introduction to the field; however the book has a few obvious shortcomings as a text, and for that I deduct some stars. Specifically,(1) There is almost no discussion, within the text, of actual experimental work. There is a *mountain* of very interesting work in QC, including even commercial applications. I found myself scrambling to breathe some life into this very theoretical text by mentioning experimental examples. There are some helpful footnotes, but...goodness gracious, why not acknowledge where we actually are in the field, right now?(2) As nice as the exercises are, most answers aren't provided! That's going to prevent a lot of teachers from adopting the book. However, the examples are nice and much appreciated.(3) I found the comparisons to classical computing and other alternatives e.g. adiabatic QC rather lacking. That's a shame because QC research is a lot more than simple theoretical two-state manipulations.On the whole, I didn't find this book as "gentle" for my students as I'd hoped! Without my PhD-level understanding of QM, I honestly would not have caught the most important points, myself. My students were completely lost at sea in several sections. That said, there are so few good texts on QC, this did provide a nice theoretical framework.
It's a great intro. You probably only need a solid undergrad background to understand this book, though you do need to have seen the Dirac bra-ket version of quantum mechanics to keep up. Oh, and some linear algebra would help too.
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