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Quantum Computing - good, active field?

  1. Sep 3, 2008 #1
    Quantum Computing -- good, active field?

    I had the chance of working in the summer on quantum cryptography. Unfortunately I was rather isolated so I didn't get a good sense of the scope of the field. Now I want to specialize in it, but I fear it might lead to a dead field. Any advice?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 4, 2008 #2
    Re: Quantum Computing -- good, active field?

    Hey Dragonfall,

    I'm also thinking about getting into quantum computing (theory), and as far as I can tell it's a smaller field than most (in terms of both people & funding). As it is, CS theory in general is rather underfunded as compared to most fields in physics. Barring some breakthrough it's likely to stay that way for a while. However, there are a ton of unanswered fundamental questions since it's a rather new field. If you want to get a sense of where the field is you could check out the bigger quantum computing groups @ Berkeley, MIT, UCSB, UW, and the Perimeter Institute to name a few. Scott Aaronson's blog also has a lot of information on the state of things in the quantum computing world.
     
  4. Sep 8, 2008 #3
    Re: Quantum Computing -- good, active field?

    Thanks. But how does one prepare for quantum computation? The only related class here is "quantum cryptography". Should I take some quantum physics class from physics department?
     
  5. Sep 8, 2008 #4
    Re: Quantum Computing -- good, active field?

    Well, it depends on your background. The book Quantum Computer Science by Mermin is a good intro to the subject written for people with a CS background. Taking quantum mechanics classes certainly won't hurt (I would even recommend it!), but most of the material you'll see won't be very relevant to quantum computing. You won't be diagonalizing too many Hamiltonians if you work in quantum computing (however knowing why you'd want to is still important).

    I'd say the most relevant undergrad classes would probably be normal CS theory courses like complexity theory and cryptography as well as certain math courses like advanced linear algebra, combinatorics, and probability.
     
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