ABSTRACT: This paper provides necessary and sufficient conditions for constructing a universal quantum computer over continuous variables. As an example, it is shown how a universal quantum computer for the amplitudes of the electromagnetic field might be constructed using simple linear devices such as beam splitters and phase shifters, together with squeezers and nonlinear devices such as Kerr-effect fibers and atoms in optical cavities. Such a device could in principle perform "quantum floating point" computations. Problems of noise, finite precision, and error correction are discussed.