The Quantum Coreworld, or simply the Coreworld, is an abstract world inhabited by assembly language programs running on a quantum virtual machine. This language--an extended version of Corewar's Redcode--permits programs to use quantum operations on quantum bits (qubits). The goal of the project is to engineer, or discover, toy quantum lifeforms.
The Quantum Coreworld biosphere is run 24x7 on participating Internet servers at http://science.fiction.org. The software, pQmars, used to run the ecology and to develop and debug new lifeforms is available under the GPL license. The project is further described in an MSc thesis, The Coreworld: Quantum Teleportation and Artificial Souls, and in Ph.D. Thesis Advisory Committee progress reports.
The Quantum Coreworld gets its name from the game Corewar and the first Corewar-like artificial world of Rasmussen, Knudsen, Feldberg, and Hindsholm (1990).
Who is responsible?
Alexander Wait designed the Quantum Coreworld and the underlying pQmars software. The code incorporates the work of Albert Ma, Na'ndor Sieben, Stefan Strack, Mintardjo Wangsaw, Scott Aaronson, Daniel Gottesman, Robert D. Jenkins, L. Peter Deutsch, M. Joonas Pihlaja, and others.
On one hand, the most intriguing--and the most far-fetched--outcome of this research is the possibility that toy quantum lifeforms in the Coreworld could help us recognize such behavior in the real world. On the other hand, the most practical benefit from studying quantum artificial life might be a greater understanding of biological possibilities with more standard physics.
The operations permitted in a classical world and a quantum one-- especially the operations we can model on a digital computer--are only subtly different. The Quantum Coreworld is a specific model in which these differences can be examined; this exploration can lead to a better understanding of the world as it is.