The universe computes: every atom, electron, and elementary particle registers bits of information, and every time two particles collide those bits are flipped and processed. By hacking the computational power of the universe, we can build quantum computers which store and process information at the level of atoms and electrons. This computational capacity underlies the generation of complex systems, and provides insight into the origin of life and its future. Seth Lloyd is a professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He is the author of \'Programming the Universe: A Quantum Computer Scientist Takes On the Cosmos\' which asks the startling question \'Is the universe actually a giant quantum computer?\'.