Like many quantum computation researchers, back when I was first learning the basics of the field, I relied heavily on Nielsen & Chuang's "Quantum computation and quantum information" textbook.

However, one frustrating aspect of doing so was that no official set of solutions was ever released for the exercises, with only a small selection (unofficially) solved at sites such as this.

Since then, I often wished that I had the time to set up some wiki or website that could crowd-source the best solutions to these problems, so that it could provide a resource for future generations of QC students.

Having recently discovered this Stack Exchange site, I have been wondering if this is not the perfect place for this idea.

I would be interested in peoples' thoughts on this, since I am new to the site. For example, I could have just started to list the questions myself, however this feels like a cheap way to accrue reputation points, which is not my aim and perhaps would devalue the endeavour (not to mention the time it would take). Are there ways (e.g. bots or limited, but dedicated accounts) to achieve this on the site or is this kind of thing prohibited?

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    $\begingroup$ This is a great idea! I look forward to your posts. If you'd like, as you make the posts, you can make a new meta post listing each post for an easy reference. $\endgroup$
    – auden
    Jun 20, 2018 at 16:14
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    $\begingroup$ I think too that this is a good idea. I do not know if it is possible to do so on Stack Exchange, but a very cool thing would be to make some sort of kanban board with all the excercises yet to be answered where users can pick a question, answer it and if correct put it in the "solved anwers" group. In this way people can keep track of what is answered and what isn't, as well as looking at the solutions. $\endgroup$
    – FSic
    Jun 21, 2018 at 7:49
  • $\begingroup$ Definitely a great idea! $\endgroup$ Jun 21, 2018 at 9:35
  • $\begingroup$ Can I make a request that you put a header in each of the questions in this series linking to this meta post, saying it's part of this series of questions? Thanks! $\endgroup$
    – Mithrandir24601 Mod
    Jun 22, 2018 at 14:53
  • $\begingroup$ Just found a subreddit that "is dedicated to learning about quantum computing, particularly the book Quantum Computation and Quantum Information by Michael A. Nielsen and Isaac L. Chuang" - could be nice to post QC.SE answer references there to boost awareness of this stack & increase traffic here? $\endgroup$
    – user820789
    Jun 26, 2018 at 18:58

2 Answers 2


Sounds like a good thing to do. And if you get reputation, it is only because people have upvoted your efforts. So feel free to amass all the internet points you can.

I’d suggest starting with questions that have answers (providing both questions and answers is a perfectly fine thing to do on Stack Exchange). Or with questions that you actually want to know the answers to.


I'd be wary of doing too much, particularly in relation to the more basic mathematical nuts and bolts of quantum theory (such as you've done so far), simply because these (or mild variants) are often set as homework questions, where it would be better to avoid giving an answer that can simply be plagiarised, or allow students to avoid thinking too hard about what they're doing. Perhaps try to concentrate on the examples where there are "interesting" answers (for some very arbitrary definition of interesting)? And perhaps somehow flag to others that we don't want the obvious/straightforward answer for that reason?

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    $\begingroup$ Personally, I would dissent from this opinion. As someone who came to QC from a mathematically-light background, just becoming comfortable enough with the linear algebra required to solve some of the exercise questions was a challenge, and nuts-and-bolts solutions were very informative and helpful to get me up to speed. Also, from a philosophical perspective, not including detailed answers because of the worry that some bad students will use them to avoid learning seems self-defeating on a site dedicated to providing good answers to questions and supporting those who actually want to learn. $\endgroup$ Jun 26, 2018 at 9:04
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    $\begingroup$ You were soliciting opinions, and I gave you mine. There's no requirement to agree with it! Also, note that I wasn't saying "don't do it" or even "don't give detailed answers". $\endgroup$
    – DaftWullie
    Jun 26, 2018 at 11:01
  • $\begingroup$ And I thank you for it! Apologies if it came across as terse--it was merely meant as a counterpoint to those you made coming from a student's perspective rather than a educator's. In fact, I'm sure SE presents quite a challenge to lecturers trying to grade homework across many disciplines, for which there's no easy solution (perhaps other than good, honest students!). :) $\endgroup$ Jun 26, 2018 at 11:37

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