The Quantum Garden is an interactive artistic exhibition with a scientific content behind it.
It has been conceived to display the results of a numerical simulation of a quantum physics problem whose inputs are provided by the visitors to the exhibition by touching the springs.
The problem is very simple: imagine you have three glasses aligned on a table one of which, say the left one, is full of water and you want to end in the situation in which all water is eventually in the right one. The only rule is that water can be poured only from one glass to its nearest neighbor. In the classical world the strategy to solve this problem is to first pour the water from the left to the middle glass and then from the middle to the right. Very simple, right?
Unfortunately when the rules of quantum physics are at play, things a a little different.
If you apply the “classical” strategy to the quantum equivalent most of the times you will end up with the water in the middle or, even worse, in the left glass. Why? This is due to the fact that a quantum fluid experiences interferences with itself which can eventually stop the fluid from ending in the right glass. What is the best strategy then? The bad news is that it is not known. For these reason this problem is still very much studied by researchers all over the world.
The Quantum Garden, beside being an artistic and interactive installation, collects data which then will be used to shed light onto this problem which is closely related to the implementation of quantum simulators. At each touch of the visitors the Quantum Garden collects the signals from all touched springs, converts them into the parameters of the problem, runs a simulation and displays the solution. The latter is displayed as rings from the center to the outer of the board, the central, middle and outer part correspond to the left, middle and right glasses respectively. So be happy if in the end you will see only one big ring displayed on the outermost of the board, or else give it another try!