The best quantum computing books

3 authors have picked their favorite books about quantum computing and why they recommend each book.

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Book cover of The Quantum Spy: A Thriller

The Quantum Spy: A Thriller

By David Ignatius,

Why this book?

Ignatius’s most recent novel is in many respects a mashup of books no. 1 and 2 on this list: terrific storytelling and the latest spy recent tech: You’ll conclude that it’s just a matter of time until “bad actors” (spy speak for “bad guys”) can hack your brain. At the same time, you’ll enjoy the story.

From the list:

The best spy books that will make you paranoid—with good reason

Book cover of Programming the Universe: A Quantum Computer Scientist Takes on the Cosmos

Programming the Universe: A Quantum Computer Scientist Takes on the Cosmos

By Seth Lloyd,

Why this book?

Now we are getting to the modern era, where physics meets computing in ways never dreamed of by the founders of quantum physics. Seth Lloyd is a professor at MIT and one of the first to prove that quantum theory admits the possibility of building computers on wholly quantum foundations. He is also one of the most creative and engaging writers on the subject. His main message is that information is the basis of all things physical. From quantum bits or qubits to cosmology, this book has it all, and is written in a highly accessible way. Not a single…

From the list:

The best books for beginners to learn about quantum physics and quantum technology

Book cover of Quantum Computing Since Democritus

Quantum Computing Since Democritus

By Scott Aaronson,

Why this book?

I’ve been fascinated by complexity theory and quantum computing since I started studying cryptography. Not only because of the intellectual depth and rich history of these disciplines, but because of how they relate to cryptography: complexity theory brings the foundational security assurance, while quantum computing destroys part of that security. Aaronson is one of the world-leading researchers working at the intersection of these two fields, whose research and blog I’ve been following for many years. I was thus delighted to find his witty, funny writings turned into a comprehensive book, touching on topics as diverse as logic, computability, quantum mechanics,…

From the list:

The best books for cryptography apprentices

Book cover of Q is for Quantum

Q is for Quantum

By Terry Rudolph,

Why this book?

This masterful book goes one step further and presents a game-based analogy that goes a long way toward explaining how a quantum computer actually works. Working through the book, one gains an understanding of how qubits can be quantum entangled and how entanglement leads to computing tasks that could not be performed on an ordinary computer. Deceptively simple in appearance, the method leads you deep into the inner workings of quantum logic operations without realizing you are digesting some pretty advanced concepts. The author knows of what he writes, as his theoretical discoveries led to one of the world’s most…

From the list:

The best books for beginners to learn about quantum physics and quantum technology

Book cover of Speakable and Unspeakable in Quantum Mechanics: Collected Papers on Quantum Philosophy

Speakable and Unspeakable in Quantum Mechanics: Collected Papers on Quantum Philosophy

By J.S. Bell,

Why this book?

John Bell’s theorem about the unavoidability of what Einstein called “spooky action-at-a-distance” in quantum mechanics set off the second quantum revolution, leading to quantum computation, quantum cryptography, and quantum teleportation among other insights. This book collects Bell’s most important papers which range in style from professionally mathematical to popular and intuitive, so there is something for everyone. Beginners can start with “Quantum Mechanics for Cosmologists” or “Six Possible Worlds of Quantum Mechanics” or “Bertlmann’s Socks and the Nature of Reality” or “La Nouvelle Cuisine”. Experts can learn from “Against ‘Measurement’”. People interested in the mathematical details can find them, and…

From the list:

The best books on quantum theory and its history

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