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Elements of quantum computing : history, theories and engineering applications
Akama S., Springer Publishing Company, Incorporated, Cham, Switzerland, 2015. 126 pp. Type: Book (978-3-319082-83-7)
Date Reviewed: Oct 13 2014

Intended for readers with no special knowledge of the theory of computation or quantum mechanics, the author attempts to cover the elements of quantum computing, including history, theories, and engineering applications. Obviously a comprehensive treatment of these topics, including the necessary mathematics and physics prerequisites, is not possible. One looks for some clever analogies that would elucidate the concepts of quantum computing and give readers insight into its significance. Unfortunately, insight into quantum computing is missing here.

The organization is fine, with an introduction followed by chapters on computer models, quantum mechanics, quantum computers, applications of quantum computing, and the future of quantum computing. There are many photographs of scientists with brief biographies. The drawback is the exposition. At the beginning of chapter 3 on quantum mechanics, the author states that “since the materials ... are mathematically advanced, the readers who are not interested in them can skip and proceed to chapter 4.” Chapter 3 includes linear algebra, Hilbert spaces, and much more that cannot really be explained in 23 pages. In Section 4.3 on the qubit, a fundamental concept of quantum computing, the author states that the value of a qubit is an observable N, which has the Hamiltonian operator N on the Hilbert space H = C2. This use of the inadequate chapter 3 is frequent.

What is missing is any sense of how a qubit differs from a bit. There is no discussion of superposition or entanglement to show how they enable quantum computing to achieve remarkable results. Shor’s factoring algorithm is discussed in two pages, with the quantum part given by a few formulas and with no useful explanation. No better explanation is given of any other quantum algorithm.

Shockingly, this book seems to be unedited. It sorely needs an editor fluent in English to change “it is possible to fastly find r,” “implementations are done by hardwares or softwares,” and many other phrases. Even a word processor finds these. A technical editor is also needed to better express the author’s intent. The publisher, Springer, has a distinguished history of publishing technical books. This book is priced at $99 for an electronic version and $129 for a hardbound copy; that does not compute.

Reviewer:  Arthur Gittleman Review #: CR142814 (1501-0037)
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