Tom Simonite

A View from Tom Simonite

Google Entangles Minecraft with Quantum Physics

Thanks to Google, Minecraft players can now toy with quantum teleportation and Einstein’s “spooky action at a distance.”

  • October 21, 2013

One reason for the popularity of the video game Minecraft is the way its blocky universe faithfully adheres to the physics of the real one. Google has now released a software package that introduces quantum physics to the game, an area of nature’s laws previously missed out by Minecraft creator Markus Persson (see “TR35: Markus Persson”).

Players of qCraft, as the new “mod” is called, can toy with quantum teleportation, entanglement, and objects that exist in a “superposition” of multiple states at once.

Google asked Caltech quantum mechanic Spyridon Michalakis to help design qCraft. In a blog post on the project, he expresses hope that the mod will help people from school age and up to understand the quantum world better. Google also partnered with MinecraftEdu, a project run by educators from the U.S. and Finland interested in using the game as a teaching aid.

Although qCraft was released just last week, some Minecraft enthusiasts are already showing off what they can do with quantum physics in the game. In this video, a Minecraft player recreates the famous Schrödinger’s cat thought experiment. Google’s own interests in quantum physics extend beyond the theoretical. Earlier this year the company began a new research effort into quantum computing (see “Google and NASA Launch Quantum Computing AI Lab”).

For those looking for hints on how to get started, the qCraft project has produced a series of how-to videos about the mod. For an introduction to Minecraft read our recent article explaining its allure (see “Minecraft and the Secret to a Video-Game Phenomenon”).

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