In 1965, Gordon E. Moore (who one year later would found the company known to the world as Intel), observed that every 18 months, a significant increase in the computational power of machines takes place. Today, Moore’s Law has become a touchstone in the computer information industry. However, it now raises questions about the challenges that we will soon face in obtaining more computational power.
Some researchers have already started looking into harnessing the power of quantum physics in order to address this challenge. A small team of quantum physics researchers from Aarhus University in Denmark have taken this one step further: they have built a game through which everyone can get involved with doing front-line research. The goal is to help build the first scalable quantum computer in the world.
The game is called Quantum Moves and it is the first project under the scienceathome.org umbrella. The idea of the game is quite simple: every time you play, your mouse movements simulate the laser beams used in a real quantum lab to move atoms onto the right pathways. Jacob Sherson, the lead researcher in the scienceathome.org project, tells you a bit more about this here.
The game is composed of several individual games grouped in labs. Researchers want to attract as many players to the QComp and Beat AI labs, which translate the most difficult quantum mechanics problems that confront them when building the quantum computer.
Precision and accuracy are key elements for obtaining high quality data that can be then transferred. Therefore, some of the Quantum Moves game missions are quite challenging as they have to be completed close to perfection in a very limited time. For each scientific challenge that players solve in each of these labs, the team will then run a computer optimization in order to “monitor your ability to find answers to the quantum challenges that we are confronting you with and compare them to the results yielded by computer optimization. We are interested in finding out not only whether the players can outperform the computers, but also how large a fraction of them can do it”, says Jacob Sherson.
So far the results are extremely promising: it looks like players are much better than the computer at finding the right answers in the shortest time, but further data is needed to support this hypothesis, he added. So, the entire research team encourages everyone to start playing!