Spring 2021 - PHYS 816 G100

Quantum Information Science (3)

Class Number: 5761

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 11 – Apr 16, 2021: Mon, Wed, Fri, 8:30–9:20 a.m.

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 25, 2021
    Sun, 3:30–6:30 p.m.

  • Instructor:

    Hoi-Kwan Lau
    Office: SCK 9692
    Office Hours: by appointment (Zoom meeting preferred)
  • Instructor:

    Hoi-Kwan Lau
  • Prerequisites:

    Recommended Prerequisite: PHYS 385 and either PHYS 384 or MATH 314 and 419, or equivalent, with a minimum grade of C-.



Includes topics such as qubits, density matrices, mixed states, entanglement, basic quantum algorithms, quantum cryptography, computational models and complexity, introductory quantum error correction, and applications. Students with credit for PHYS 416 may not take this course for further credit.


*Students who took `Introduction to Quantum Information Science’ in Spring 2019 (PHYS 492 or PHYS 881) cannot take this course for credit.

*Depending on the number of students registered, lectures in the last two weeks will be reserved for group presentations.

Basics of quantum information (density matrix, gates, measurement, channel)
Entanglement (Bell’s inequality, teleportation, entanglement measures)
Errors and correction strategies (decoherence, quantum error correction code)
Quantum computation and simulation (circuit model, algorithm, adiabatic model)
Quantum communication (dense coding, quantum key distribution)
Optional: physical implementations of quantum devices (e.g. trapped ion, photons, superconductors…), quantum sensing


  • Assignments 40%
  • Presentation 20%
  • Participation in presentation 20%
  • Final exam 20%


Roughly 5 assignments will be given.  Assignments will be submitted electronically to the instructor.  Marks will be deducted for late submission.
In each assignment, questions worth roughly 25% of total marks will be optional to PHYS 416 students, though they can get bonus marks if they attempt.

A short exam (~2 hour) will be conducted at the end of semester.  Its aim is to ensure that students have learnt the *basic* principles and techniques of quantum information science from the course.

Date and Format: TBD

A question that worth roughly 25% of total marks will be optional to PHYS 416 students, though they can get bonus marks if they attempt.

Each graduate student (PHYS 816) and a team with maximum two undergraduate students (PHYS 416) will study a classic topic in quantum information science.  A 30-minute tutorial style talk will be given in the last few lectures of the semester.  All students are required to attend all the presentations.  Graduate (PHYS 816) students are also required to actively participate: attendees should ask questions at the end of the talk, and presenters should be prepared to answer questions from classmates and the instructor. 

The grading for presentations roughly follow the criteria:
A  (Material is explained in a clear way that most classmates can understand, questions answered politely)
B  (Most essential parts in the material is covered, although some of the points are not very clear)
C-D  (Several main points in the material is lacking)
F  (Irrelevant talk)

The grading for presentation participation roughly follow the criteria:
A  (asking insightful questions in most talks; polite)
B  (occasionally asking related questions; polite)
C-D  (rarely asking questions or questions are irrelevant; impolite/offensive)
F  (no attendance)

Teams have to decide the presentation topic by the end of February.  Topics are chosen in a first-come-first-serve basis.  The topic could not overlap with the research of anyone in the team.  Possible topics include (list will be updated):

- Linear optics quantum computing (Knill Laflamme Milburn scheme)
- Quantum repeater (Duan Lukin Cirac Zoller scheme)
- Quantum machine learning (Harrow Hassidim Lloyd scheme)
- Variational quantum eigensolver
- Quantum secret sharing
- Quantum random number generator
- Deterministic quantum computation with 1 qubit (DQC1)
- Quantum Fisher Information
- Measurement-based quantum computation
- Continuous-variable measurement-based quantum computation
- (Impossibility of) quantum bit commitment
- Quantum sensing with Schroedinger’s Cat state
- Bosonsampling
- Any other topic that is approved by the instructor



Recommended Textbook:
“Quantum computation and quantum information” by Michael A. Nielsen & Isaac L. Chuang (Cambridge University Press, 2010)  (At least 3 copies are reserved at library)

Course notes will be provided online before each lecture

Graduate Studies Notes:

Important dates and deadlines for graduate students are found here: http://www.sfu.ca/dean-gradstudies/current/important_dates/guidelines.html. The deadline to drop a course with a 100% refund is the end of week 2. The deadline to drop with no notation on your transcript is the end of week 3.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in spring 2021 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).