Quantum Odyssey: To Create the Quantum Era, We First Have to Make it Fun

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Quantum Odyssey helps teach quantum principles, programming using the power of fun.

The quantum industry may be serious business, but a quantum gaming startup is planning to make quantum a seriously fun business.

Quarks Interactive, a startup in the quantum computing gaming space, is working with the leading quantum scientists and gaming experts to help build one of the first games that will encourage non-scientists to learn and explore the field of quantum computing and quantum science.

The ultimate goal of the project, though, is to create a quantum ready world by leveraging the vast and lucrative market of gaming as a way to build a bridge to quantum-curious new audiences.

“My vision is that a world that is quantum literate – by this I mean a world where domain experts from a vast number of fields of study can recognize the power of quantum computation to drastically speed up technological progress in our society,” said Laurentiu Nita, who heads up Quarks Interactive. “To achieve this mission, I decided to tap into the biggest industry out there: the gaming market — worth $180 billion in 2019 alone — so that I can spread quantum literacy.”

Players in this game, called Quantum Odyssey, must use quantum computing know-how to save the world. He added that the game is a well crafted gaming experience, with a non-linear story.

“The premise is simple, a team of experts — with the exception of a very funny misplaced character called ‘Les’ — is sent on an Elon Musk ‘Starship type’ ship to recover an alien artefact that’s been broadcasting prime numbers in a manner Carl Sagan would be happy about,” said Nita. “Unfortunately, things don’t go as planned and the crew gets stranded in space on board of the science vessel.”

“My vision is that a world that is quantum literate – by this I mean a world where domain experts from a vast number of fields of study can recognize the power of quantum computation to drastically speed up technological progress in our society.”

Players then have to work together to survive.

“The team has to work together with a crazy AI called AXIOM on board in order to figure out how to grow food in space, create interferometers, find materials and a way to go home or even take their chances to recover the object,” said Nita. “For the readers familiar to quantum computation it is obvious why building quantum tech on board would be the most effective way to accomplish the mission, while for anybody not familiar with what quantum computation has the power to unlock, this video game is absolutely perfect to play.”

Quantum Odyssey isn’t just about having a good time. It’s about teaching — and showing — how the quantum world works.

“It is designed to show everything — from how superposition works to why full quantum algorithms and quantum techs are key to progress and what absolutely amazing things they are useful for,” said Nita.

He added that doctoral-level scientists and researchers from a variety of fields have helped design the video game. They had more than nine helpers on the project who contributed to the development of the story and game mechanics.

Accuracy is everything, according to Nita.

“We promise everything to be scientifically accurate and at the end of the game, allow our players to actually contribute to science, by battling against unsolved quantum algorithms online,” he said.

The team is currently looking for funding for the project. If you’re interested in reaching out, check out the Quantum Odyssey here.