Date of Award

January 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Physics & Astrophysics

First Advisor

William W. Schwalm


The quantum walk is a method for conceptualizing and designing quantum computing algorithms and it comes in two forms: the continuous-time and discrete-time quantum walk. The thesis is organized into three parts, each of which looks to develop the concept and uses of the quantum walk. The first part is the theory of the quantum walk. This includes definitions and considerations for the various incarnations of the discrete-time quantum walk and a discussion on the general method for connecting the continuous-time and discrete-time versions. As a result, it is shown that most versions of the discrete-time quantum walk can be put into a general form and this can be used to simulate any continuous-time quantum walk. The second part uses these results for a hypothetical application. The application presented is a search algorithm that appears to scale in the time for completion independent of the size of the search space. This behavior is then elaborated upon and shown to have general qualitative agreement with simulations to within the approximations that are made. The third part introduces a method of implementation. Given a universal quantum computer, the method is discussed and shown to simulate an arbitrary discrete-time quantum walk. Some of the benefits of this method are that half the unitary evolution can be achieved without the use of any gates and there may be some possibility for error detection. The three parts combined suggest a possible experiment, given a quantum computing scheme of sufficient robustness.