Minecraft is, at its core, a game about building; it's a game about stacking digital blocks on top of one another to create something new. Pretty simple concept, right? Anyone who ever played with lego will understand.
What's not at all simple is some of the stuff people have done with Minecraft. The level of creativity displayed by Minecraft's players - and the modding community that's popped up around the game - is positively staggering. We've seen faithful recreations of entire worlds, fully-functional assembly lines, even working computers. Now, Google's looking to add one more thing to that list: Quantum Physics.
The team at Google's Quantum AI Lab recently developed a new mod known as qCraft. This mod adds a number of blocks which exhibit Quantum theories such as entanglement, superposition, and observer-dependency. Some of these blocks kick into gear when the user simply looks at them, while others might disappear (or appear) at random.
"We built the Quantum AI Lab to explore the potential of quantum computing, and figure out what questions we should be asking," explained the team in a Google + post. ne question is clear: Where will future quantum computer scientists come from?
Our best guess: Minecraft.
Millions of kids are spending a whole lot of hours in Minecraft, not just digging caves and fighting monsters, but building assembly lines, space shuttles, and programmable computers, all in the name of experimentation and discovery. So how do we get these smart, creative kids excited about quantum physics?"
"We talked to our friends at MinecraftEdu and Caltech's Institute for Quantum Information and Matter," the team continued, "and came up with a fun idea: a Minecraft modpack called qCraft. It lets players experiment with quantum behaviors inside Minecraft's world, with new blocks that exhibit quantum entanglement, superposition, and observer dependency.
Of course, qCraft isn't a perfect scientific simulation, but it's a fun way for players to experience a few parts of quantum mechanics outside of thought experiments or dense textbook examples. We don't even know the full potential of what you can make with qCraft, but we're excited to see what Minecraft's players can discover."
qCraft is available as an addon to either Tekkit, Hexxit, or Feed The Beast - three of Minecraft's largest and most extensive mod-packs.