### Gentle introductions

You’ve heard the term “quantum computing” but you’re not sure what it means. (And what does a quantum computer even look like?) Don’t be afraid. Start with these gentle introductions.

#### What is a quantum computer?

https://youtu.be/OWJCfOvochA

Dr. Talia Gershon is the director of research strategy and growth initiatives at IBM.
In this twenty-minute video for WIRED Magazine (2018)
she expertly explains quantum computing
to five levels of understanding—personified by a child,
teen, undergrad, grad student, and a field professional.
She also refers to an actual quantum computer apparatus
that she’s brought with her to these dialogues.
I have great respect for the art of explaining complex subjects
in a way that makes them intuitive
without losing the truth of the subject.
Dr. Gershon makes this tough task look easy.

Dr. Talia Gershon on LinkedIn

Dr. Talia Gershon on Twitter

#### Quantum concepts, the easy way

You don’t need a PhD in quantum physics to play with quantum computing. After all, this computer you’re reading from doesn’t understand quantum physics. Instead, it merely plugs together a few basic concepts in order to simulate quantum computation. Each of the following documentation pages focus on one of the conceptual building blocks used to create Q.js. Taken together (and in this order) they’ll teach you everything you need to know to get started. Haven’t done math like this since high school? That’s ok. These are gentle refreshers.

Since the above pages also serve as documentation for the Q.js code API
you may notice some code examples sprinkled into these primers for added clarity.
Code not your thing? That’s ok too.
It won’t hinder you to skip over those bits.
For each page the concept primers end
and the API documentation begins
with the heading titled **Constructor**.
(From there onwards it’s all about the code.)

#### The Quantum Computing talk

https://www.smbc-comics.com/comic/the-talk-3

Cartoonist Zach Weinersmith teams up with Scott Aaronson,
director of the Quantum Information Center
at the University of Texas at Austin,
to produce “The Talk” (2016)—a one-off comic that is both humorous and informative.
It also takes gentle swipes at pop science’s
mangled metaphors for explaining quantum phenomena.
Remember, parents: “If you don’t talk to your kids about quantum computing
someone else will.”

Scott Aaronson’s website

Zach Weinersmith on Twitter

### Quantum communities

#### The Quantum Daily

https://thequantumdaily.com

The Quantum Daily (TQD) is the
leading online information and data platform
dedicated exclusively to Quantum Computing.
TQD provides incisively written articles,
information on quantum computing companies,
market research and more.

### Help—I am a programmer.

Ok, so you’re no stranger to variables, basic algebra, and banging your head against a keyboard. It turns out that’s all you need to get started.

#### Andrew Helwer’s “Quantum computing for computer scientists” lecture for Microsoft Research (2018)

https://youtu.be/F_Riqjdh2oM

Named after the book of the same title—a book
Andrew reveres—this lecture explains qubits as matrices,
gate operations as matrices,
superposition,
and demonstrates an example of quantum computing’s
exponential power over classical computing.
This is the video that inspired me to build Q.js.
I’ve watched it about 100 times,
and each time I’m able to gleen a sliver of new insight.

Lecture slides

Entry on Microsoft Research’s portal

Andrew Helwer on LinkedIn

#### Noson Yanofsky and Mirco Mannucci’s “Quantum Computing for Computer Scientists” (2008)

Don’t have a degree in maths or physics—but know how to code?
This book is for you!
Noson and Mirco explain quantum computing
in terms you’ll grok.
I highly recommend it.

Entry on Cambridge University Press

Entry on Google Books

Purchase from Amazon

Purchase from Barnes & Noble

Purchase from Target

#### Michael Nielsen and Isaac Chuang’s “Quantum computation and quantum information” (2000, 2010)

http://mmrc.amss.cas.cn/tlb/201702/W020170224608149940643.pdf

This tome is a must-have, foundational book for quantum computing.
Beware: It is full of maths symbols.
As such I’ve found it useful to breeze-read through some sections,
totally unconcerned about if I’m truly absorbing the material or not.
Then to go back and read it again.
And again.
And yet again.
And so on.
By employing this unanxious repetition across days / moods / contexts it is almost by accident that the puzzle pieces begin to join and the picture comes in to focus.
Useless trivia:
It’s been nick-named “Mike & Ike” in honor
of the authors and the candy.

Entry on Wikipedia

Entry on Google Books

Purchase from Amazon

Purchase from Barnes & Noble

Purchase from Target

### Particulars

#### Gwilym Newton’s “Playing with the Bloch Sphere” blog post (2019)

https://quantumcomputing.stackexchange.com/questions/4720/what-circuit-or-operation-corresponds-to-the-tensor-product

Published just days after I began work on Q.js,
this blog post by Gwilym Newton of IBM solved a problem I was banging my head against the wall over:
How to properly convert a qubit’s
`alpha`

and
`beta`

properties in to phi and theta angles!
If you’re building your own
Bloch Sphere visualizer
you’ll notice this is surprisingly difficult to find code examples of.
Gwilym’s description helped me out.

Gwilym Newton on IBM Blogs

Gwilym Newton on LinkedIn

Gwilym Newton on Twitter

### Quantum JavaScript (Q.js)

#### Q turns 1 (Medium)

https://medium.com/@stew_rtsmith/quantum-javascript-d1effb84a619

A post written on the occasion of Q’s first birthday.

#### Q source code (GitHub)

https://github.com/stewdio/q.js

Q.js is open-source—and you can join right in!
Download the code. Contribute to it. Fork it.
Because the repo *is* the
documentation / examples / concept primer / source code,
everything exists at this one location.

#### Q documentation and tools

https://quantumjavascript.app

This very site that you are reading right now.

#### #Qjs on Twitter

https://twitter.com/stew_rtsmith/status/1123415441915957250

The original Q.js Twitter thread started
in April 2019 with a clumsy ASCII diagram of a
Hadamard matrix.
From there the thread documents the
twists and turns of Q.js as it continues to evolve.
Let’s use the hashtag
#Qjs, eh?

#### Stewart Smith, Q creator

http://stewartsmith.io

Hi, I’m Stewart.
I do other things besides attempt to teach myself quantum computing.
I’ve been educated as a graphic designer and fine artist,
but began coding at an early age.
I’ve worked for the big tech companies,
created artworks for museums and galleries around the world,
and have spent the last few years
creating tools for virtual reality.
(That looks way more glamorous in writing than it is in real life.)
I live in Brooklyn NY with my family and will never move to San Francisco ;)

Stewart Smith’s website

Stewart Smith on Twitter

Stewart Smith on LinkedIn

Stewart Smith on GitHub

Stewart Smith on Medium