An undergraduate Freshman recently emailed me that he was very interested in Quantum Computing and wanted to know
1) Who on the fCS aculty works in QC (Answer: Andrew Childs though you should ask him about postdocs, grad students, and Physics faulty in the area.)
2) What are good books on QC for a bright ugrad. I said the following:
QC since Democritus by Aaronson
QC-A gentle introduction by Rieffel and Polak
QC for CS by Yanofsy and Mannucci
QC and QI by Nielsen and Chuang
Some of Scott's blog posts.
Ask Andrew Childs for more.
my webpage of book reviews for SIGACT NEWS here and search for Quantum to get some other books- read the reviews and pick one.
on Amazon type in quantum computing and see what reviews say- though they might not be reliable.
There are likely other good books but I do not know of them. (You can leave comments.)
3) Is QC a good topic to get into? I said YES of course. My reasoning is that they would of course LEARN something by studying it.
But this raises the question: When would I say `that field is not worth studying' ?
1) If they really want to do RESEARCH and the topic is either too dead or too hard and they want to actually do research (as opposed to learning the topic without wanting to to research).
2) If there was nobody around to help them in that topic. Might still be okay if they are both highly motivated and very smart.
3) If the topic was bogus AND they would learn NOTHING from studying it. Are there topics that are bogus but you still learn from studying them? Does studying astrology seriously teach you some astronomy? Some history? How about Alchemy and Chemistry? Fine if the students KNOWS that Astrology is bogus and Alchemy is not correct.
The points is that I really do not want to dampen someone's enthusiasm for a topic.
SO- aside from the reasons above, can you think of any other reason to discourage a student from a topic they are interested in? I ask, as always, non-rhetorically.