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< backstory >

I grabbed a book called Code Complete at a used bookstore the other day because I heard it was a great book, and started reading it. After around 10 pages I realized that I've been kind of stupid about a recent project I've been working on. A bit of clarification I should put in at this point: I'm not at a job, and this is not for school; it's about as informal as it gets (I'm also the only one working on it though I have asked questions on SO occasionally). I'm in middle school and trying to create a piece of software.

Long story short, I jumped right into the coding (and am now questioning some decisions I made on the spot about how he code works). So I'm trying to sort of start over the right way.

< /backstory >

Okay, so I'm trying to create a problem statement and I wanted to know what some good tips were to know if I had a good one. Code Complete said that it should be non-technical and from the user's point of view, which I tried to do. Any advice would be appreciated on making it better.

As far as I know, there is currently no good way to simulate large, complex quantum computing circuits, including such features as decoherence, error correction, entanglement, and algorithms on a classical computer, let alone with a system that is standard/well-known and easily accessible.

Sorry if it's absolutely terrible, this is my first time doing any of this.

Edit - Draft 2:

I rewrote using the suggestions in the comments and the answer.

There is no way for theoreticians, researchers, and students in the field of quantum computing to simulate and test complex, large quantum circuits in an intuitive, efficient way without creating the code for the application themselves. A web application that works in popular browsers with an simple interface that could accurately produce results on the outcomes of quantum algorithms, error correction codes, entanglement, decoherence, and the other aspects of both an ideal and realistic interface would allow professionals and students alike to test their ideas and get a better understanding of the field of quantum computing.

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    It sounds like a good opening paragraph for a research paper abstract. Problem statements would be more specific than this. – Robert Harvey Dec 28 '16 at 21:53
  • This isn't related, but I wanted to say I like the idea. An application that could visually illustrate the summed amplitudes of multiple qubits in a quantum computing system under a particular segment of code would be very interesting and useful. You could use such a simulator to run basic tests on code, because running tests through the quantum computer would be expensive. I'm rather surprised this does not already exist, even though it currently has no practical use apart from education. – Trixie Wolf Dec 28 '16 at 23:18
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    @TrixieWolf, the closest thing I've found that exists is the IBM quantum experience, but it only allows up to five qubits and it doesn't allow, for example, custom gates - which is especially annoying because it doesn't have the functionality for more than a few common gates. Beyond that, there could certainly be something along these lines out there that I have not found; if you do find an application like this, I'd be glad to know =) – heather Dec 28 '16 at 23:26
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    you're in middle school, you say. you're comfortable discussing qubits and custom gates. must be a he'll of a middle school. – user223083 Dec 30 '16 at 21:27
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    @mobileink, more like youtube and stack exchange =) unfortunately, there is no quantum computing class in middle school (i wish). – heather Dec 30 '16 at 21:33
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One thing to think about is the Five W's.You explain what you want to do pretty clearly, but who would be using this and why? Is it for education of CS undergrads on the basic ideas of quantum computing? Or for researchers in quantum algorithms to test their ideas? Maybe it's for people working on building real quantum computers? It's not perfect, but Joel Spolsky's article "Figuring out what your company is all about" also has some good advice on explaining the motivation behind software projects.

From a writing standpoint, you could make a few technical improvements. You don't need to say "As far as I know" (we can already tell, since you're writing it). You say there isn't a "good" way, but what does that mean? Is the only current way to do the same thing to write the program yourself? Is there similar software that is too hard to use or too inefficient? You hint at this by saying "with a system that is standard/well-known and easily accessible", but that is also vague. Do you want something that can run on any x86 processor? Something that runs on Windows? A web-app that works in popular browsers?

You could rewrite your problem statement as something like this:

There are many misconceptions about quantum computing, and students of computer science should know better. A web application for simulating large, complex quantum circuits would help students visualize quantum algorithms and develop a mental model that accurately reflects decoherence, error correction, and entanglement.

  • Thank you, this was incredibly helpful. Rewriting with these suggestions in mind =) – heather Dec 28 '16 at 21:40

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