A guide to online resources for learning quantum computing

A schematic of the Bloch Sphere, a tool used to describe the state of a qubit in quantum computing.
The Bloch Sphere, a tool used to describe the state of a Qubit

This article is my attempt at collecting several learning resources available online for learning quantum computing at different levels. If a really cool resource is not listed here, feel free to add it in the comments or write to me so I can add it to the list!

So you have finally been persuaded – quantum computing is cool – and you have decided to embark on the journey of learning the ropes. First off, congratulations on taking the first step! This article is an attempt at helping you go from that decision to landing on the learning resource that fits you best.

There are lots of cool tools out there, some aimed at beginners, some at advanced learners, some include programming, others games and interactive learning. And you, my friend, you may be a really motivated high school student (keep it up!), or an undergraduate student, trying to figure out whether this is your calling. Or you might be a professional scientist who deliberated that it’s time to pivot towards quantum computing and incorporate those key skills into your portfolio. Or yet you might be a manager within a small-medium industry, or a large corporation, and you feel you will soon need to take decisions which involve understanding the potential and applications of quantum computing to your specific field. You might be a math wizard, using your mathematical brain every day in your job, or you might feel quite rusty with the math, or even terrified to go back there.

The profiles and backgrounds of people looking to learn more about quantum computing can be very diverse. Yet, quantum computing is a complex and interdisciplinary field that includes theoretical physics and maths, engineering, electronics and programming. As scientists keep developing the hardware, we are starting to explore the applications space, which marries quantum computing with the specific application, be it pharmaceuticals, finance, battery development, chemical engineering and many more. On one hand, experts in those fields will be identifying the computational challenges they face, on the other quantum computing experts will be developing algorithms targeted to solving those challenges.

So, where should you begin?

I’ve separated resources according to their level of detail and level of math, conscious especially of the fact that math is not a language that everyone is accustomed to.

Introductions to quantum computing

No maths

Let’s begin with some short videos:

And popular science books:

And what about learning while playing?

  • https://qplaylearn.com/: fantastic free resources (including games, videos and short explainers) developed by quantum computing researchers
  • Quantum Games and Interactive Tools for Quantum Technologies Outreach and Education: this paper https://arxiv.org/abs/2202.07756 (2022) is a survey of all the great quantum games out there, beware, you’ll definitely get stuck into them! (My personal favourite is the quantum game with photons, which I helped develop (therefore I am biased): https://play.quantumgame.io/)

Of course, there are also plenty of articles, if you’d rather read up on it, such as:

With maths (but my maths is rusty)

With maths (my maths is pretty fluent)

Special topic: quantum algorithms

If you want to delve a little deeper into the quantum algorithms topic, this is a list of resources *I* found useful.

  • Quantum algorithms: an overview. By Ashley Montanaro, a professor at Bristol University and founder of PhaseCraft. The article is from 2016. https://www.nature.com/articles/npjqi201523. A snippet from the article: “Here we briefly survey some known quantum algorithms, with an emphasis on a broad overview of their applications rather than their technical details. We include a discussion of recent developments and near-term applications of quantum algorithms.”
  • Quantum Protocols and Quantum Algorithms — Qiskit Textbookhttps://qiskit.org/textbook/ch-algorithms/index.html
  • Noisy intermediate-scale quantum algorithms (2021)https://arxiv.org/pdf/2101.08448.pdf
  • 5 quantum algorithms that will change the world. A brief video introduction by Anastasia Marchenkova (2022) covering VQE, QUBO, QML, Grover and Shor: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_54i80UFHSs
  • Basic quantum algorithms by Renato Portugal (2022)https://arxiv.org/pdf/2201.10574.pdf
  • VQE Method: A Short Survey and Recent Developments (2021): https://arxiv.org/pdf/2103.08505.pdf. A snippet from the article: “The VQE method was introduced to mitigate the significant hardware demands needed by the QPE approach on NISQ devices. VQE is a hybrid quantum-classical algorithm, where the computational workload is shared between the classical and quantum components of the hardware.”

Special topic: nurturing your career in quantum

Special topic: keeping an eye on quantum developments

If what you are looking for is a quick digest of the latest developments in quantum, then these resources might be up your alley (apologies, I am sure I am forgetting a lot here, please add them in the comments!):

So, I hope you’ve found here something that will keep your mind occupied and happy for a while! I believe Quantum is not the easiest of topics to approach, and given the diversity of backgrounds of learners, it’s useful to have tailored paths, to avoid feeling discouraged or disappointed. Please remember, quantum needs you and you can build the skills you need to join this exciting field of technology!

This article was originally published on Medium by Chiara Decaroli and can be found through this link: https://decarolichiara.medium.com/a-guide-to-online-mostly-free-resources-for-learning-quantum-computing-9b3468522b49