This paper is intended to be a beginners introduction to the field of quantum computing. As I began to study this topic at the University of Illinois under the supervision of DrRoy Campbell in 1999, there was a lack of introductory material to the topic. This paper will hopefully serve as an introduction to the rudiments of quantum computing and the specifics of Shor's algorithm for factoring large numbers.

In order to get the most out of this paper, readers should be familiar with the following topics:

- Binary representation of numbers
- Complex numbers
- Vector mathematics

The field of quantum computing has its own vocabulary, most of the novel terms used in this paper are described in the glossary at the end.