CS/PH 120 Quantum Cryptography

Term: Fall 2016
Lectures: TT 10:30-12, 243 Annenberg

Instructor: Thomas Vidick, vidick@cms.caltech.edu
Office hours: Thursday 5-6pm, 207 Annenberg

Teaching assistants: Andrea Coladangelo ( andrea.coladangelo@gmail.com ),
Jalex Stark ( jalex@caltech.edu ), Charles Xu ( cxu3@caltech.edu ).
Office hours: Monday 4-5pm, 205 Annenberg
Monday 8-9pm, 106 Annenberg


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Course description

This course is an introduction to quantum cryptography. It is offered simultaneously as an EdX course. Video modules, lecture notes and quizzes will be available weekly on EdX. In class we will review the material and dive deeper.

Course outline

The course on EdX starts October 10th, which is the third week of class. The first two weeks will be spent reviewing the basics of linear algebra, quantum information, computer science and cryptography that will be used throughout.
Starting in the third week we will follow the same outline as the course on EdX, which is the following: The last two weeks will be released beyond the regular Caltech quarter, but we will cover some of the material, including the topic of delegated computation, in class.


I will not assume any background in quantum information or cryptography: all the necessary background will be reviewed in the first two weeks. I will assume a solid knowledge of linear algebra and probability; the most important prereq is Math 1b. Helpful related classes to have taken are Ph 2b, 12b and CS 21, 38.

Evaluation and workload

Students are required to:




As part of the class you will work on a project. Projects can be done individually, but small groups of 2-4 are encouraged. You will pick a topic to read upon for the project. The default format will be to choose a couple papers, write a 2-5 page report on the papers, and make a short 10-minute presentation in class. The goal is to read papers that are interesting, and be critical about them. They can be old papers (such as the first paper on quantum information, introducing Wiesner's scheme for quantum money), or very recent (such as papers on quantum authentication or certified randomness generation).

Here is a list of suggested topics. The list is non-exhaustive: you may choose papers not in the list as well. For each topic listed, I give one or two papers as a starting point. It is up to you to google around a little bit and find if there are more relevant (or more interesting) papers available on the same topic.


Your main resource will be the teaching material posted on EdX. This includes video modules, lecture notes, quizzes, and pointers to additional resources available online. The material for Week 0 is already available and contains lots of background reading.
There is no textbook on quantum cryptography. A good reference on quantum information is the book Quantum Computation and Quantum Information by Nielsen and Chuang.