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A quantum game

BringWaterHome: the challenge is to transport an atom (pink liquid) without changing its energy

ReproductionBringWaterHome: the challenge is to transport an atom (pink liquid) without changing its energyReproduction

Video game players with little or no scientific training are helping researchers find more efficient solutions to a quantum computing problem: performing operations in the shortest possible time without compromising the accuracy of the outcome. The group headed by physicist Jacob Sherson of Aarhus University in Denmark obtained efficient solutions by turning quantum computing operations into a computer game, BringWaterHome, available in the Quantum Moves virtual environment. In this game, players are challenged to move an atom over a barrier as quickly and efficiently as possible without changing its initial energy. The atom is represented by a liquid that must be transported without spilling. The properties of the liquid mimic the ability of atoms to behave like waves and to occasionally cross barriers that are insurmountable in the macroscopic world. The outcomes of 12,000 games played by 300 volunteers appear in a recent article (Nature, April 14, 2016). Most of the solutions were more efficient that those obtained solely by computer calculations, and two were faster than any solution yet achieved. The game is available online.