Redesigned quantum optics course brings applications to the heart of the experience

Written by
Princeton Department of Electrical Engineering
June 15, 2020

The McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning has awarded Hakan Türeci support from Princeton’s 250th Anniversary Fund for Innovation in Undergraduate Education, funding the overhaul of a senior-level quantum engineering course.

Türeci, an associate professor of electrical engineering, has redesigned ELE 456 “Quantum Optics” around a key feature: student access to quantum computers. These devices, which leverage the laws of quantum physics to store and process information, have become a major research interest and tool for scientists and engineers across government, industry and academia. The revamped course, spearheaded by Türeci and made possible through the Innovation Fund and Princeton's academic partnership with the IBM Q Network, allows students to carry out fundamental experiments over the cloud on IBM quantum hardware.

The redesign places technological applications “at the heart of the academic experience,” Türeci said. “The central challenge in this course is to provide foundational material in a way that can very directly benefit students wanting to jump into research in quantum information science and quantum computing.”

“Quantum Optics” was originally introduced in 2012, and has attracted students from electrical engineering, physics, mathematics, computer science and mechanical and aerospace engineering. But quantum information science and technology has seen major leaps since the course was first designed. And recent technical advances have opened new possibilities for cloud-based access to deeper levels of IBM’s quantum hardware.

The course focuses on the theory of light-matter interactions, the foundational basis for many of today’s quantum technologies. By conducting basic science on advanced hardware, according to Türeci, students will bring abstract ideas of quantum physics to life and gain valuable experience working at the forefront of a rapidly evolving field.


This story originally appeared on the Princeton University Department of Electrical Engineering website.