IQIM’s quantum game program began by developing qCraft (in collaboration with Google and MinecraftEDU); a mod that brings concepts of quantum physics into the popular online game Minecraft. Using qCraft within Minecraft, kids learn about quantum superposition and quantum entanglement, and may apply this knowledge to solve a series of puzzles. The qCraft mod has been downloaded from qcraft.org over three million times in over 100 countries. After the success of qCraft, we took quantum games to a higher level with Quantum Chess, the outcome of a two-year collaboration with USC physics grad student Chris Cantwell.
In Quantum Chess, pieces can be in a superposition of different squares on the board, and a projective measurement occurs when a piece is attacked. Quantum Chess is the first game ever built on top of a quantum physics engine and serves as a great example of how a classic game can be re-imagined, bringing quantum phenomena to the forefront. Moreover, we expect Quantum Chess to stimulate further research on quantum adaptations of machine learning algorithms. Future Quantum Chess match-ups between small quantum computers and classical supercomputers may open a new front in the battle for quantum supremacy!
Through active demonstration of qCraft and Quantum Chess members of IQIM have introduced elementary, middle school and high school students to topics such as entanglement and quantum teleportation. The games are demonstrated during classroom visits and science nights for area schools. Students have access to explore the games independently with IQIM students and faculty there to answer questions and discuss the science behind what happens in the game. An early access version of Quantum Chess is available online https://store.steampowered.com/app/453870/Quantum_Chess/