WL Summer Program & International Festival of Arts & Ideas “Beneath the Green, The Quantum”​

Event time: 
Friday, June 23, 2023 - 9:30pm to 10:30pm
Event description: 

Artist Stewart Smith has designed a human-scaled light installation, in collaboration with Yale Quantum Institute researchers and students, that investigates the latest in quantum error correction research—an essential tool in the pursuit of fault-tolerant quantum computing. Visitors are invited to circulate through this interactive forest of vertical illuminated beacons; their bodies acting as proxies for the destructive quantum noise and decoherence that arises within a quantum device as it operates. In response, the illuminated beacons recognize these “quantum errors” and attempt to mitigate them in real-time, illustrated through patterns of light that ripple across the collective. This attempt to resolve observer-induced “error” is driven by actual quantum error correcting algorithms researched and developed at Yale University.
The crowning lights atop each beacon gently allude to the New Haven Green’s spooky history as a temporary respite for souls en route to a rapturous beyond; metaphorically drawing energy from beneath the grassy surface and transmitting it heavenward—like a photon traversing an impossible barrier in the cold, dark, and isolated environment of a quantum device’s dilution refrigeration tank. And just as the beach hides beneath the paving stones, perhaps a united future of students and workers can grow from this soil of uncertainty, seeded by the momentum of generative artificial intelligence and new forms of computation that promise to redefine what it is to labor, produce, and consume.
We invite you to traverse our small forest of light, weaving your own path of human error—as we all do—through the spaces between. And don’t fret. Our algorithms can tidy up.
Artist: Stewart Smith
Scientific Consultant: Yue Wu
Producer: Florian Carle