You can now play a video game called Quantum Odyssey, which teaches all you need to rigorously understand quantum computation.
Understanding the logic (set of rules, laws) followed by the building blocks of our Universe is no trivial matter – even more, to use this very logic and create meaningful computation, such as solving a real-world problem on a quantum computer, many argue that that one has to completely drop any previous Computer Science knowledge they might have and start from scratch.
Many aspects of quantum computing defy our intuition. Our daily lives’ logic is the same logic we have built within our classical computers. The careful study and understanding of the atom now allow us to go deeper into thinking about problems. By harnessing the way matter behaves at a quantum level, many companies and research institutions are racing to build quantum computers.
Although early quantum hardware exists for many years now, we haven’t really managed to use these quantum computers to solve actual problems. Many argue that this is to do with the difficulty in understanding how to create quantum computation, combined with the difficulty of getting these machines to work. A domain expert in science (i.e., a chemist) should understand quantum computation to encode the chemistry problem in quantum logic gates for it to be run on quantum hardware to be solved.
If it can take a decade to learn a topic in science to the point the person can produce useful and novel work, where is the incentive to learn quantum computation, a topic where the excitement is happening now?
The scientists’ work and research led newly founded company Quarks Interactive gives us a new way of understanding quantum computation by simply learning visual cues. By learning the rules of a “simple” puzzle game, you actually learn all aspects of gate model quantum computation.
For instance, we all know what to expect after flipping a fair coin, with heads and tells. In this video, we describe using Quantum Odyssey the idea of a probabilistic event in the classical world compared to what we see at a quantum level:
The game allows you to visualize quantum interference. This effect makes quantum probability amplitudes different from classical probabilities. It allows us to visualize how quantum interference allows us to harness the power of quantum computation. For example, this short movie shows the construction of the famous algorithm by Lov Grover, where quantum mechanics provides a much faster way to find a needle in a haystack:
This game allows the players to understand not only the potential of quantum computing but also the limitations. For example, does quantum computing allow you to “try every possibility at once,” as many people claim? The answer is not a straightforward “yes” or “no.” Still, more of a “sort of,” and the visualization allows you to see exactly what “sort of” actually means, and why even if you do interpret quantum computing as “trying everything at once,” it can’t just solve any hard problem instantly. This goes beyond the superficial understanding you can get by reading an article, but deeper, to the level you can only get by getting your hands dirty and trying things. Instead of wondering, “what happens if I try this?” you can just try it and have the result spectacularly visualized in front of you.
Quarks Interactive launched its educational video game, Quantum Odyssey, on the 8th of December and is available on their website. The video game was created with the mission in mind to make quantum computation accessible to everyone, no matter their background – and make the process of learning very fun and engaging for the new generation of quantum learners.
The company’s mission is to promote quantum literacy in our society: have everyone know a bit of quantum. This video does the job of articulating this mission by putting it in a historical context:
What Quarks Interactive believes in: Quantum Intuition needs to be taught in schools using visual methods as soon as possible and early. We made learning quantum no longer dependent on the pupil’s knowledge level of mathematics (linear algebra, complex numbers, Dirac notation). We have a visual method that rigorously represents these, and besides the tremendous educational value, it can be quite fun for the pupils. We conducted feasibility studies in UK schools to refine Quantum Odyssey. By working with education experts, we are working to find the best ways to do this, and Quantum Odyssey is the product of our research (https://arxiv.org/pdf/2004.07957.pdf). – A visual method that is fun, easy to use, and accessible by all communities of practitioners is scientifically rigorous and can be used in active research. Quantum Odyssey can stand as a collaboration platform between scientists and communities of casual practitioners, such as people who love solving puzzles or play video games.
Quarks Interactive official contact details.”