Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
 Department of Mechanical Engineering
 6.050J / 2.110J     Information and Entropy     Spring 2003


Unit 12: Quantum Information


Lecture Tuesday, May 13, 2003, 12:00 PM Room 37-212
Exam Review Thursday, May 15, 2003, 12:00 PM Room 37-212
Problem Set None  
Final Exam Friday, May 23, 2003, 1:30 PM - 4:30 PM Room 37-212
Closed book except that two sheets of 8 1/2 x 11 inch
paper, with notes on both sides, are allowed.

Lecture Handouts

Students who for any reason did not receive these items can pick up a copy in Room 38-344. Some of this material is also available on the 6.050J/2.110J Web site

  • Unit 12 Resources (this page)
  • 6.050J / 2.110J Notes
  • Seth Lloyd, "Quantum-Mechanical Computers," Scientific American, vol. 273, no. 4, pp. 140-145; October, 1995. An early, very readable description of quantum computation
  • T. P. Spiller, "Quantum Information Processing: Cryptography, Computation, and Teleportation," Proc. IEEE, vol. 84, no. 12, pp. 1719-1746; December, 1996. Although this paper is now more than four years old, it provides an excellent introduction for students
  • Seth Lloyd, "Quantum-Mechanical Maxwell's Demon," Physical Review A, vol. 56, no. 5, pp. 3374-3382; November, 1997
  • "The Cost of Forgetting," The Economist, December 13-19, 1997
  • Isaac L. Chuang, Lieven M. K. Vandersypen, Xinlan Zhou, Debbie W. Leung, and Seth Lloyd, "Experimental Realization of a Quantum Algorithm," Nature, vol. 393, p. 6681; 1998
  • "Quantum Information," Physics World, pp. 35-57; March, 1998. Some popular articles covering various aspects of quantum information, including quantum communication, quantum cryptography, quantum computing, and some possible ways of implementing the ideas
  • Andrew M. Steane and Wim van Dam, "Physicists Triumph at Guess My Number," Physics Today, pp. 35-39; February, 2000. A charming introduction to superdense coding, in which the transmission of a classical bit can convey more that a bit of information if the channel is set up in advance using quantum entanglement
  • Bruce Kane, "Scalable Quantum Computing Using Solid-State Devices," The Bridge, vol. 32, no. 4, pp. 5-8; Winter, 2002. Technologies that might support quantum information processing and scale to a reasonable number of qubits
  • Michael Hiltzik, "Harnessing Quantum Bits," Technology Review, vol. 106, no. 2, pp. 58-63; March, 2003. Story about implementations of quantum computers from several laboratories

Reading Assignment



Prof. John Preskill teaches a course on quantum information at Caltech. Lecture notes.
Centre for Quantum Computation, University of Oxford.
An extensive set of links to tutorials on quantum information.

One of the most active industrial research groups in quantum information is at IBM Research Yorktown. This was the home of one of the early leaders in the field, the late Rolf Landauer, and younger people including Charles Bennett, who is known for his work on quantum teleportation.


  • Rolf Landauer obituary
  • Richard P. Feynman biography. Feynman, an MIT graduate, was curious about the nature of quantum information
  • James Clerk Maxwell biography. Maxwell really opened up the relationship between information and entropy by proposing the Maxwell's Demon, which would apparently violate the Second Law of Thermodynamics


There are already many books and conferences on quantum information, even though the field is new.

  • Hoi-Kwong Lo, Sandu Popescu, and Tim Spiller, "Introduction to Quantum Computation and Information," World Scientific, Singapore; 1998. The book is based on a lecture series held at Hewlett-Packard Laboratories, Bristol, UK, November 1996 - April, 1997
  • Michael A. Nielsen and Isaac L. Chuang, "Quantum Computation and Quantum Information," Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK; 2000. This is probably the best of the books intended for scientists and engineers
  • Dirk Bouwbeester, Artur Ekert, and Anton Zeilinger, editors, "The Physics of Quantum Information: Quantum Cryptography, Quantum Teleportation, Quantum Computation," Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Germany; 2000
  • Jeffrey H. Shapiro and Osamu Hirota, editors, "Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Quantum Communication, Measurement and Computing," Rinton Press, Princeton, NJ; 2003
  • George Johnson, "A Shortcut through Time: The Path to the Quantum Computer," Alfred A. Knopf, New York, NY; 2003. This book, written by a New York Times science writer, is for the general public and may not be technical enough for some readers

Maxwell's Demon in its many forms has captured the imagination of both scientists and the general public.

  • Leon Brillouin, "Science and Information Theory," Second Edition, Academic Press Inc, London, England; 1962. Topics include Brownian motion, thermal noise, information theory, entropy, and the author's personal view of Maxwell's Demon.
  • Harvey S. Leff and Andrew F. Rex, "Maxwell's Demon: Entropy, Information, Computing," Adam Hilger, Bristol BS1 6NX, England; 1990. General historical discussion with many reprints of original papers but not, regrettably, any of Maxwell's own publications.
  • Hans Christian von Baeyer, "Maxwell's Demon," Random House, New York; 1998. A good review for the general public, by a Professor of Physics at the College of William and Mary, this book was written before the quantum version of the demon was understood as well as it is today.

Help Wanted

6.050J/2.110J students: be the first to suggest a resource, for example a useful Web site or a good book or article, to add to the list above. If your suggestion is accepted by the 6.050J/2.110J staff, you will get a $5 ice-cream gift certificate. Send your suggestion by e-mail during Spring 2003 to 6.050-staff at

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