InAs/GaAs quantum dots (QDs) grown by various methods do not have the same dimensions in the three axes. This paper reports on expressions for computations of the optical transitions and absorption spectra of InAs/GaAs QDs that have a square base and the variation of the height is Gaussian. The dots were considered to be elongated quantum boxes with square bases having finite potentials at the boundaries. The results are in excellent agreement with reported experimental data of photoluminescence and absorption. The expressions could be successfully applied to short quantum wires. © 2011 American Institute of Physics.