Quantum games can be a fun and interactive way to learn about quantum mechanics. These games are designed to illustrate some fundamental principles of quantum mechanics, such as superposition, entanglement, and quantum uncertainty.
To laymen, the principles governing quantum mechanics can be difficult to understand and visualize, but quantum games can provide a concrete and engaging way to explore them.
There are many different quantum games available, ranging from simple puzzles and simulations to more complex strategy games. Let’s have a look at some of them.
1. Hello Quantum
Hello Quantum is a puzzle game designed by IBM for quantum-curious people who may not have a strong background in physics or computer science. It teaches the principles of quantum computing in a fun and interactive way. The game teaches players how to control qubits and develop a logical sense for writing programs for quantum computers.
As a player, you want to change the placement and color of circles on a grid to match a specified pattern. The grid symbolizes a pair of qubits while the color of the circles denotes their state; white means on, black is off, and clear means random. As you advance in the game, you will learn about qubit manipulation commands and the qubit interactions’ characteristics, such as the uncertainty of unmeasured qubits.
2. Particle In A Box
Particle in a Box was developed by The Design and Interaction Studio at Georgia Tech to teach introductory Quantum Mechanics in the simplest way. The game is divided into two worlds: quantum mechanics and classical mechanics. If you know anything about quantum physics, you’d know it’s characterized by randomness. This plays out in the game.
In the quantum world, quantum objects exhibit randomness, while those in the classical world exhibit typical behaviors. The ball-shaped particle in the classical universe acts in a manner that is consistent with everyday experience. Your goal in both worlds is to increase a particle’s energy.
In the classical world, you can achieve this by rolling the energy so that it can push a lever further up and unlock the door to the next level. In the quantum world, you will assemble lightbulbs of the right color and put light on an electron’s quantum wire. This way, you can raise an electron’s energy by three levels. Particle in a Box was so widely accepted the designers won the Student’s Choice Award at Serious Games Showcase & Challenge in 2015.
3. Psi And Delta
Like Particle in a Box, Psi and Delta have two parts. The player builds models based on the concepts of superposition and probability in part one and develops models of energy levels in part two.
Physics teaches that an electron will reach a superposition condition or exist in many places simultaneously in a confined space. To end this superposition, the player will pull a level to take measurements, causing the electron to collapse from its superposition state to a random location on the wire.
A collapsed electron will “shock” the robot or player standing on a platform above it, causing them to lose health. The probability that an electron will be measured under a platform increases with its length and with the height of the curve above it. The electron resumes superposition after each measurement.
In part two, the opposing robot has a shock-resistant shield, so the electron requires more energy to break through it. Light, made up of discrete energy packets (photons) whose energy is dependent on color, can supply energy to an electron.
To move an electron from lower to higher energy, the player must use a lamp to beam photons with the same energy as the gap and use a spectrum to change the electron’s color.
QCard is designed by QPlayLearn, a team of scientists and communicators who offer customized content for different people. They educate beginners on the fundamentals of quantum computing using a tabletop card game, QCard.
It uses IBM’s Qiskit framework to mimic quantum circuits during gameplay. Your objective as a player is to increase the likelihood that your qubit will be flipped from 0 to 1 at the end of each round.
5. Photonic Trail
In collaboration with Quantum Flytrap, QPlayLearn developed the Photonic Trail, a single-player quantum game where players hunt for treasure with six missions covering the basics of quantum optics. It combines elements of art, science, and fiction to teach the fundamental ideas of quantum optics—how light interacts with atoms and molecules—while maintaining a high standard of accuracy in the explanations.
It’s intuitive, so older primary and secondary school students can play. In this game, players search for treasure while completing six tasks that introduce them to the fundamentals of quantum optics. With each mission they complete, they move closer to mastering the Hilbert Spade and becoming a Master of Light.
6. Virtual Lab By Quantum Flytrap
Quantum Flytrap aims to bring quantum technologies to users through simple graphical interfaces. Their simulation game, Virtual Lab, is a real-time online optical table simulation that can support up to four entangled photons. It uses a drag-and-drop feature for positioning optical elements such as photon sources and Faraday rotators.
The Virtual Lab allows users to investigate the nature of quantum physics (state evolution, entanglement, and measurement), simulate quantum computing, use quantum cryptography, investigate counterintuitive quantum phenomena, and recreate ground-breaking experiments like the Michelson–Morley interferometer.
Virtual Lab offers a variety of methods for investigating an experiment, its results, and the current quantum state. Players can examine the full experiment, including all potential measurement possibilities, using the multiverse tree tool. According to the Copenhagen interpretation, all branches are connected to probable outcomes and constitute a coexisting aspect of the quantum state, which means they are worlds unlikely to collide.
7. Quantum Odyssey
Designed by Quarks Interactive, Quantum Odyssey combines the best video game experience with a patented visual learning method for teaching Universal Quantum Computing. The in-game content is narrated by experts in the field and teaches quantum computation in a fully visual experience.
Quantum Odyssey encourages non-scientists to learn about and explore quantum computing and quantum science. The project’s ultimate goal is to create a quantum-ready world by leveraging gaming as a bridge to quantum-curious new audiences.
In the game, a team of specialists is dispatched aboard an Elon Musk-designed “Starship” ship to collect an extraterrestrial artifact. When things don’t go as planned, the crew has to find a way to survive. They must work with an AI named AXIOM on board to figure out how to produce food in space, build interferometers, discover resources, and find a way home.
8. Quantum Moves
ScienceAtHome was founded by researchers, data scientists, and game developers to revolutionize scientific research through gameplay. Their game, Quantum Moves, allows citizen scientists to go through various scenarios where they can apply quantum technology research. One problem most industries face is optimization, and research has shown that player-generated solutions may have certain advantages over random seeding, even when the solution landscapes of these problems are complicated.
In Quantum Moves, players may more effectively explore the solution landscape and capture solution techniques that algorithms may overlook. This doesn’t discredit algorithms; rather, it’s saying that citizen ideas might be beneficial when determining how to tackle a certain quantum problem. The developers believe Quantum Moves is an important stepping stone toward hybrid intelligence. The game is currently in beta, so they’re still adding changes.
9. Quantum Chess
Quantum Chess is the result of a partnership between qcraft and USC physics graduate student Chris Cantwell. It is the first game ever created on top of a quantum physics engine, and it exemplifies how a traditional game can be reimagined to bring quantum phenomena to the foreground.
The pieces in Quantum Chess do not maintain one physical location, they can be in a superposition of different squares on the board, and when a piece is attacked, a projective measurement happens. This item superposition is denoted by a ring that indicates the probability that the piece may be located in a certain square.
While moving a piece, each action can be guided by probability. Several computations are performed behind the scenes when a piece advances to determine the final result, which may be utterly unexpected. However, movements obey the core principles of classical chess, including castling.
10. Quantum Tic-Tac-Toe
This is a simple game that illustrates the concept of superposition, in which a quantum particle can exist in multiple states at once. Players take turns placing their pieces on a 3×3 grid, with the goal of getting three in a row. However, in this version of the game, each space on the grid can be in multiple states at once, allowing players to occupy multiple spaces at the same time.
These are just a few examples of the many quantum games that are available. By playing these games, you can learn about some of the fundamental principles of quantum mechanics in a fun and interactive way.