Qupcakery: A Puzzle Game that Introduces Quantum Gates to Young Learners
Quantum computing is a rapidly-emerging interdisciplinary field at the intersection of computer science and physics. Harnessing the power of quantum mechanics, quantum computing is expected to solve otherwise intractable problems significantly faster, with revolutionary implications in encryption, drug development, and scientific discoveries. High quality and accessible quantum resources are needed to help students develop the critical skills to make the promise of quantum computing a reality. However, existing programs are often aimed at college students with an advanced mathematics or physics background, making the material inaccessible to many students and interested novices.
In an effort to make quantum learning resources more accessible to a larger young audience, we designed Qupcakery, a puzzle game that introduces players to several core quantum computing concepts - quantum gates, superposition, and measurement. We present preliminary testing results with both middle school and high school students. Using in-game data, observation notes, and focus group interviews, we identify student challenges and report student feedback. We conclude that the game is at an appropriate level for high school students but needs more incremental levels for middle school students to practice. We also discuss potential extensions and improvements for the game.
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