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Quantum games are the future not only for technology but also for achieving goals as a team – Prof. Marek Szopa and Dr Eng. Anna Gorczyca-Goraj

Explaining their research on quantum games, Prof. Marek Szopa and Dr Eng. Anna Gorczyca-Goraj, note that it is important to start by mentioning game theory. In an interview with Coopernicus, they take a closer look at how game theory studies human interaction strategies. They say that the theory assumes that players, in choosing the optimal solution, predict what other players will do. In addition, game theory assumes the existence of multiple strategies, for example – situations in which there is a best solution for only one player or a solution that benefits everyone. Quantum games, which are the subject of research by Prof. Szopa and Dr Eng. Gorczyca-Goraj, are games based on more abstract and difficult situations.

Prisoner’s dilemma

A good way to show what quantum games are is to present the prisoner’s dilemma. In its classic form, it is presented as follows: Two criminals, who are known to the police, are caught in a stolen car. The police suspect them not only of stealing the vehicle, but also of other crimes. However, the forces of order have no evidence of the crimes the criminals are suspected of. At the police station, the criminals are separated and interrogated separately so that they cannot communicate with each other. A police officer offers the criminals a reward for betraying an accomplice and providing evidence. This situation offers three possible solutions:

  • The two criminals remain silent – then both are convicted only of stealing the car, a relatively low penalty
  • One of the criminals confesses and provides evidence for the other – the one of the criminals who “solicited” the accomplice receives no punishment. The other criminal (the loser) is convicted not only of stealing the car, but also of the crime for which there is now evidence.
  • The two criminals confess and thus the two betray the accomplice – the two criminals are convicted of both the car theft and the crime for which the police now have evidence. The penalties are slightly less because they cooperated with the police.

For both suspects, the best option (offering the lowest risk of punishment) is to remain silent and trust that the accomplice will also behave that way.

“When we choose a solution that is individually favourable to us, that’s when we fail as a team or as a whole.” – prof. Szopa says in an interview with Coopernicus. He adds that it is through quantum games that we can get a much better result, that is, a result closer to the Pareto optimum. 

“The strategy of being a team player pays off.” – concludes Dr Eng. Gorczyca-Goraj.

So, quantum games are not just abstract science. They can also be used in communication between people, creating aligned teams at work and collectively achieving common goals.

The team’s research

Currently, the team of Prof. Szopa, Dr Eng. Gorczyca-Goraj and, not present during the interview, Prof. Piotr Frąckiewicz is working on acceptable extensions of classical games within the framework of the Eisert-Wilkens-Lewenstein model. The team is then expected to focus on finding optimum solutions in a Pareto sense. The team is also working on a scientific publication dedicated to their findings. They hope it will open up the field of further research for other scientists.

The group of researchers aims to organize the field of game theory by identifying which classes of games are acceptable extensions of classical games.

“Our goal is to develop a thorough model of quantum games. The concept of quantum games has been in development since 2000. Still, thousands of papers on the subject have not resulted in an ordering of the theory, in which it would be known which games are real extensions of classical game theory and which are simply mathematical curiosities.” – says prof. Szopa. He adds – “Mathematical curiosities do not translate into an understanding of the problems to be solved practically, such as the prisoner’s dilemma described by classical games.”

The future of quantum solutions 

Prof. Szopa and Dr. Eng. Gorczyca-Goraj, in an interview with Coopernicus, noted that quantum solutions are starting to become more popular in many areas. They cite examples such as finance and energy security, where quantum computing will translate not only into speed of computation but also into all-important data security.

Another area, according to prof. Szopa, is the next-generation cell phone network, in part based on quantum communications. This communication will enable such a connection between satellite and phone, which is based on secure network authentication through quantum communication. 

And in the event of a conflict between two parties, for example: during negotiations, quantum computers will be able to choose the best solution – one that suits both parties involved. In addition, quantum computers will be able to do this while preserving confidential data and enable the transition from the encryption algorithms currently used by companies to secure algorithms.

In simple terms about complicated matters

Speaking about the future of quantum games, Prof. Szopa and Dr Eng. Gorczyca-Goraj, stress the importance of popularizing science by talking about it in simple language.

Dr Eng. Gorczyca-Goraj says that people recognize how important quantum computing and quantum games will be:

“People know it, and we have to be ready to respond to it. But not by writing complicated formulas just by building understanding.”

They also agree that scientists should be able to explain their research in simple language that is accessible to everyone. As prof. Szopa puts it:

“The class of a scientist is determined by whether he or she can explain what he or she does to everyone. To their 80-year-old grandmother, but, as in my case, also to his grandson.”

The University of Economics in Katowice, where the two scientists work, notes both the popularity of quantum issues and the need for education in this area. For this reason, the university plans to expand its curriculum to include quantum computing issues.

Bibliography:

  1. Tomasz Rostanski, Game Theory, Prisoner’s Dilemma. http://coin.wne.uw.edu.pl/tkopczewski/MIKROsite/teoria_gier_ksiazka/ch03s02.html, (accessed 19.12.2023).
Barbara Niemczyk
Bio:
I graduated from a bachelor's degree in applied linguistics and a master's degree in journalism. I have done numerous internships and fellowships in the past years, including a translation traineeship at one of the EU Institutions and a journalistic fellowship at Deutsche Welle. I have a big passion for telling stories, talking with people and exchanging ideas. I am proactive and have excellent writing skills and ease at making new connections. I like to spend my free time sailing, hiking and practicing Ashtanga Yoga.
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Barbara Niemczyk

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