The purpose of these lecture notes is to provide readers, who have some mathematical background but little or no exposure to quantum mechanics and quantum computation, with enough material to begin reading the research literature in quantum computation and quantum information theory. This paper is a written version of the first of eight one hour lectures given in the American Mathematical Society (AMS) Short Course on Quantum Computation held in conjunction with the Annual Meeting of the AMS in Washington, DC, USA in January 2000, and will appear in the AMS PSAPM volume entitled \"Quantum Computation.\" |