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# Search in Book Reviews

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One unexpected delightful problem I had when starting the process of reviewing quantum information processing (QIP) books was that more books on the topic were popping up. Before exhausting them all, I am writing now about three of them.

The two Springer-Verlag books are aimed at people who are not
necessarily specialists involved in the field. This is especially true
of*Ultimate Zero and One*, which should be digestible by any
intelligent reader who also won't shy away from some mathematical
notation. None of the books stick solely to the physics responsible
for the fundamental advantages over traditional techniques. Dr. Michael
Brooks unfortunately did not insert a chapter on plain computability and
complexity theory but insightful essays on funding and political issues
make one think.

*Ultimate Zero and One*'s splendid coverage of good old computer
theory may understandably bore a number of people with a firm computer
science education. Not to worry, as sections familiar to the reader
(e.g. what a Turing machine is for programmers, or the properties of a
superposition of states for quantum physicists) can be skipped to reach
intriguing material. The slender*Quantum computing and communications*could have benefited with extra words from a numerical methods angle,
but should still be graspable as is with a microscopic engineering bias.

These two books I have spoken most about so far are the ones most easily labelled as popular science titles, though I may feel somewhat reserved to allow them to be branded as so general or trivial. Another big difference between these and the serious Pittenger offering is that they have a broad swathe on quantum information processing.

Cryptographic key distribution is not at all mentioned in*An
Introduction to Quantum Computing Algorithms*and as can be picked up
from the title, Pittenger is pretty much leaving the constructs around
candidate particles out of the picture.

This is not to say he ignores logic gates. These are not dealt with in full; the reader is left to explore the referenced papers.

The book is a serious hand-holding through the basic original constancy; unstructured searching and factorisation algorithms of David Deutsch and Richard Jozsa; Lov K. Grover and Peter Shor (thanks to Dan Simon) respectively and some of the following later optimisations; variants; and adaptations (though not all, e.g. strictly one search item is all that's walked through in the book). Mathematical literacy is an intended prerequisite. A quantum mechanical former life may not be essential but (former) exposure to vectors (as in matrices, you at the back stop reaching for C++ vector) would be advised. The final fourth chapter is on quantum error-correcting codes but in no way is intended to be all encompassing.

Recall that in my report in the January 2000 issue of C Vu of a
blackboard demonstration of factoring the number four at an event
thanks to the Quantum Information Processing Device using Doped
Fullerenes project, a mathematics lecturer followed it all 'except
the quantum'. In the book, Arthur O. Pittenger factorises the
number fifteen in his example. Then he goes on to show the general
case. Pittenger's book may not necessarily be so desirable to those
established experienced mathematicians and physicists who would most be at
ease with it, since they could consult omission-free papers. People out of
the loop who wish to have access to the papers could try the compilation
from Springer-Verlag assembled by Bouwmeester, Artur Ekert and Anton
Zeilinger (*The Physics of Quantum Information,*3-540-66778-4),
which at the time of writing I have not seen.

The Birkh user book may fill one niche for students
who want a shop-bought alternative to tutorials onhttp://www.qubit.org/.*Ultimate Zero and One*,
Colin P. William's and Scott H. Clearwater's second QIP
book (their first being*Explorations in Quantum Computing*,
Springer-Telos, 1998, 0 3879 4768 X) is typically an ideal comprehensive
first book. Masters students, programmers and laymen alike would find it a
fine companion. Not reviewed in this three book bonanza,*Introduction
to Quantum Computation and Information*, World Scientific Publishing,
(pb: 9 8102 4410 X, hc: 9 8102 3399 X), 348pp, edited by Hewlett-Packard
staff Hoi-Kwong Lo and Tim Spiller and Sandu Popescu, which I am about
forty percent through at time of writing has been proving to me to be a
good, somewhat more advanced and mathematical treatment of affairs than*Ultimate Zero and One*. This HP book lacks an index however. The
book edited by Brooks would, for a layman, best follow one or two decent
articles. For a physicist, it is handy to find out which companies are
already players. Some of its authors seem at pains to stress European
involvement. Yet almost casually mentioned apparently minor Japanese
involvement was not lamented as a loss for Japan.

Another difference between Arthur O. Pittenger's writings and
those in the other two books (and the World Scientific Publishing book)
is they do not contain a single spelling or grammatical mistake. In
contrast these other three books have various levels in the order of
ten per cent of pages. These are not serious - a missing vowel or a
singular instead of a plural, etc. still intelligible-except for page
39 of*Ultimate Zero and One*, where 1XOR0 should be equal to one
(serious to a layman/physicist). I am yet to finish the HP book, but that
is the only error so far in the four books which changed a meaning to
something false, or changed semantics at all. However, at least Williams
and Clearwater give plenty of references.

As I said, more books are popping up, e.g.*Minds, Machines and
the Multiverse: the Quest for a Quantum Computer*by Julian Brown,
Simon& Schuster, (0 6848 1481 1) and a Cambridge University Press
book by Neilsen& Chuang as mentioned in a mailout from the Real
Time Club (http://WWW.RealTimeClub.org.UK/). It was pleasing to see
the '*NMR Quantum Computing*' talk given by Dr. Jonathan
A. Jones in Dublin in October 1998 appear in*Quantum Computing and
Communications*, but only its presentation in September 1998 in
Helsinki is mentioned in the book. If you will excuse me, I have to
catch a train to a QC conference in Villa Olmo, Italy.