Angry Birds and quantum science converge at IQC

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The Institute of Quantum Computing (IQC) has launched a mobile game, <em>Quantum Cats</em>, to promote an understanding of quantum science. The game is in the style of the popular <em>Angry Birds</em> game.</p>

IQC was looking for a way to make quantum mechanics more accessible to the general population when they came across the idea of a game.

“The motivation was really that quantum mechanics and quantum science is not necessarily the easiest thing for people who are non-scientists to understand. Some people that we’ve encountered find it difficult, intimidating, and are a little afraid of the science. What we decided is, ‘how can we find a way to get people just a little bit familiar with some of the concepts of quantum mechanics?’ ” said Tobi Day-Hamilton, associate director of communications and strategic initiatives at IQC.  

The game was created in partnership with the Games Institute, also based on campus. Students and faculty of both institutes collaborated to bring science and game development together for the final product.

“We looked across campus for different ways to partner with people and we found the Games Institute, Neil Randall, and his people. And we thought ‘what better way to introduce some complex concepts than through a game?’ We started working about a year ago,” said Day-Hamilton.

The game currently features four cats that are named for key quantum terms. Each of the cats exemplifies the quantum behaviour they are named after and are launched (as in Angry Birds) to knock down structures and rescue kittens. The key quantum terms that are currently in the game are classical, superposition, tunnelling, and uncertainty.

Classical is a cat that has no special qualities. With the superposition cat, once it is launched you are asked to choose from one of three trajectories. The tunnelling cat goes through the first obstacle and the uncertainty cat chooses, at random, a target near it when you select it in flight. 

While the game currently only has a few levels, Day-Hamilton said they have plans to continue developing more levels and characters to the game.

Quantum Cats is currently available for download from the Google Play app store now and will be available soon on iTunes and BlackBerry World.