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posted by martyb on Wednesday May 18 2016, @09:52PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the CoolSoftware++ dept.

A machine learning optimization process can outperform physicists when it comes to the specific task of finding new ways to create a Bose-Einstein condensate:

Australian physicists have used an online optimization process based on machine learning to produce effective Bose-Einstein condensates (BECs) in a fraction of the time it would normally take the researchers.

A BEC is a state of matter of a dilute gas of atoms trapped in a laser beam and cooled to temperatures just above absolute zero. BECs are extremely sensitive to external disturbances, which makes them ideal for research into quantum phenomena or for making very precise measurements such as tiny changes in the Earth's magnetic field or gravity.

The experiment, developed by physicists from ANU, University of Adelaide and UNSW ADFA, demonstrated that "machine-learning online optimization" can discover optimized condensation methods "with less experiments than a competing optimization method and provide insight into which parameters are important in achieving condensation," the physicists explain in an open-access paper in the Nature group journal Scientific Reports .

Fast machine-learning online optimization of ultra-cold-atom experiments (open, DOI: 10.1038/srep25890)


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  • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 18 2016, @10:16PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 18 2016, @10:16PM (#348052)

    say to the bartender?

    A. You seem to be interested in alcoholic beverages.

  • (Score: 2) by dyingtolive on Wednesday May 18 2016, @10:34PM

    by dyingtolive (952) on Wednesday May 18 2016, @10:34PM (#348059)

    Do they get better fidelity than Beats?

    /audiojerk

    --
    Don't blame me, I voted for moose wang!
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 19 2016, @02:24AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 19 2016, @02:24AM (#348109)

    Their baseline was simplex optimization, which is known to be very inefficient (but fairly robust). Simplex optimization is basically the dumbest possible optimizer.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by ilPapa on Thursday May 19 2016, @02:56AM

    by ilPapa (2366) Subscriber Badge on Thursday May 19 2016, @02:56AM (#348130) Journal

    This story is basically the equivalent of saying, "A machine (centrifuge) is better at separating liquids than a physicist holding a test tube and spinning in a circle.

    I understand that we're supposed to get excited about "AI" but I don't think they'll be putting physicists out of business any time soon. They'll make their jobs easier, sure, but they're still kind of dumb. Precious few really hard problems have solutions that yield readily to brute force computation. And when you hear about the things that AI's can successfully do, you rarely hear about the years of work physicists had to put in to get those machines to be able to solve those problems.

    --
    You are still welcome on my lawn.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 19 2016, @03:25AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 19 2016, @03:25AM (#348146)

      You're missing the point of AI if you think it's all about brute force computation.

      • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Thursday May 19 2016, @05:14PM

        by maxwell demon (1608) on Thursday May 19 2016, @05:14PM (#348409) Journal

        So you say it's gentle force computation? :-)

        --
        The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
    • (Score: 2) by Joe Desertrat on Thursday May 19 2016, @02:18PM

      by Joe Desertrat (2454) on Thursday May 19 2016, @02:18PM (#348320)

      They'll make their jobs easier, sure, but they're still kind of dumb.

      That's just what they'll want us to think...until it's too late!