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Purdue University

Boltzmann Law: Physics to Computing

Purdue University via edX


A unique course that connects three diverse fields using the unifying concept of a state-space with 2^N dimensions defined by N binary bits. We start from the seminal concepts of statistical mechanics like entropy, free energy and the law of equilibrium that have been developed with the purpose of describing interacting systems occurring in nature. We then move to the concept of Boltzmann machines (BM) which are interacting systems cleverly engineered to solve important problems in machine learning. Finally, we move to engineered quantum systems stressing the phenomenon of quantum interference which can lead to awesome computing power.


Week 1: Boltzmann Law

1.1 State Space

1.2 Boltzmann Law

1.3 Shannon Entropy

1.4 Free Energy

1.5 Self-consistent Field

1.6 Summary for Exam 1

Week 2: Boltzmann Machines

2.1. Sampling

2.2. Orchestrating Interactions

2.3. Optimization

2.4. Inference

2.5. Learning

Week 3: Transition Matrix

3.1. Markov Chain Monte Carlo

3.2. Gibbs Sampling

3.3. Sequential versus Simultaneous

3.4. Bayesian Networks

3.5. Feynman Paths

3.6 Summary for Exam 2

Week 4: Quantum Boltzmann Law

4.1. Quantum Spins

4.2. One q-bit Systems

4.3. Spin-spin Interactions

4.4. Two q-bit Systems

4.5. Quantum Annealing

Week 5: Quantum Transition Matrix

5.1. Adiabatic to Gated Computing

5.2. Hadamard Gates

5.3. Grover Search

5.4. Shor's Algorithm

5.5. Feynman Paths

5.6 Summary for Exam 3


Taught by

Supriyo Datta and Shuvro Chowdhury


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