What do quantum computing students need to know about quantum physics?
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Quantum computing is a rapidly developing technology, and we are experiencing an urgent need for experts in the field. However, there is a lack of traditions, research, and development on to what extent, and how, information technology students without a background in physics should be taught quantum physics. This paper contributes to the field by suggesting key topics in a course for information technology students on the master’s level. We have identified a core content of eight key topics, ranging from content purely from quantum physics and the formalism of quantum mechanics to its use in quantum algorithms and coding. The proposed content forms part of a master’s course developed for information technology students at Oslo Metropolitan University, Norway. By means of group interviews and questionnaires to students, the students’ experiences of the course are investigated. Results indicate that information technology students are capable, and interested in, learning quantum physics for the purpose of education in quantum computing. An integrated approach, where students learn quantum physics and quantum computing in the same course is found to work well for most students. However, as the challenge is extensive for some, it is important to make the purpose of each component of the content clear.