The object of the final project is to find a recent research article (past year or so) related to the course material, read it carefully, and write a brief (max 1-2 page, or as little as a couple paragraphs) summary of its results, including some indication of how accessible it was (notation, concepts, etc.) based on material covered during the semester. The object is to determine whether you can read and understand a topical research article at least at the 33-50% level, though it might have been incomprehensible at the start of the semester.
[According to the university guidelines:
"A course that requires a culminating end-of-semester exercise and
does not offer a final examination must allow students at least until
the date appearing on the official examination schedule promulgated by
the Office of the University Registrar to complete submission of
materials associated with the culminating exercise."
For this class, the
exam schedule says that the project due date will be
<Wed,14-May-12 4:30PM> (though I can continue to receive them until 19 May).]
Sample arXiv searches (try them!): Cnot, qubit, GHZ, quantum comput*, teleportation, ... , turn up things such as the list below, but feel free especially to survey references therein, or any other resource.
I had planned plan to winnow a list of suggestions from the over 1000 from the past three years with comput* or qubit in title (again, have a look), on the basis of "newsworthiness", in this case meaning that most have received some descriptive link from news or blogspace (follow the "blog link" near the bottom of the right margin). But I found too many, and instead have just listed a very small representative sample that received large numbers of readers, and invite you to suggest more. The ones here are roughly classified according to overall area. Some of the more recent ones have also been mentioned in the latest annual Workshop on Quantum Information Processing (2014). There is another interesting set of references in the Quantum Algorithm Zoo. This list will not be meant to be either definitive or truly representative (and even some of the "classifications" may be wrong), just a sample — feel free to suggest other possibilities. It is nonetheless an informative part of this assignment to read as many of the abstracts linked below as you can, to get a flavor for the cutting research edge in this field.
NMR and quantum annealing
Error Correction and Architecture
Quantum keys and teleportation
Theory and Algorithms
Some Surveys (more for general interest rather than for writing the descriptive report)