Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

19.01.2018

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by people. However, this could change soon. In the group of Innsbruck physicist Hans Briegel, researchers broach the question to what extent machines can carry out research autonomously.


The artificial agent uses optical elements such as this beam splitter to construct new and optimized experiments.

Harald Ritsch

For this purpose, they use the projective simulation model for artificial intelligence, developed by the group, to enable a machine to learn and act creatively. The memory of this autonomous machine stores many individual fragments of experience, which are networked together. The machine builds up and adapts its memories while learning from both successful and unsuccessful experience.

Now, the scientists from Innsbruck have teamed up Viennese colleagues in the group of Anton Zeilinger, who previously demonstrated the usefulness of automated procedures in the design of quantum experiments with a search algorithm called Melvin. Some of these computer-inspired experiments have already been performed in the lab of Zeilinger.

Together, the physicists have now understood that quantum experiments are an ideal environment to test the applicability of AI to research. Therefore, they used the projective simulation model to investigate the potential of artificial learning agents in this test-bed. In a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers now present their first results.

Optimized experiments designed by an AI-agent

All starts with an empty laboratory table for photonic quantum experiments. The artificial agent then tries to develop new experiments by virtually placing mirrors, prisms or beam splitters on the table. If its actions lead to a meaningful result, the agent has a higher chance to do similar sequence of actions in the future. This is known as a reinforcement learning strategy.

"Reinforcement learning is what distinguishes our model from the previously studied automated search, which is governed by unbiased random search," says Alexey Melnikov from the Department of Theoretical Physics at the University of Innsbruck.

"The artificial agent performs tens of thousands of experiments on the virtual laboratory table. When we analyzed the memory of the machine, we discovered that certain structures have developed," explains his colleague Hendrik Poulsen Nautrup. Some of these structures are already known to physicists as useful tools from modern quantum optical laboratories. Others are completely new and could, in the future, be tested in the lab.

“Reinforcement learning is what allows us to find, optimize and identify a huge amount of potentially interesting solutions," says Alexey Melnikov. "And sometimes it also provides answers to questions we didn't even ask."

Creative support in the laboratory

In the future, the scientists want to further improve their learning program. At this point, it is a tool that can autonomously learn to solve a given task. But can a machine be more than a tool? Can it provide more creative assistance to the scientists in basic research? This is what the scientists want to find out and only the future can tell what answers are in store for them.

The work was financially supported in part by the Austrian Science Fund FWF and the Templeton World Charity Foundation.

Publication: Active learning machine learns to create new quantum experiments. Alexey A. Melnikov, Hendrik Poulsen Nautrup, Mario Krenn, Vedran Dunjko, Markus Tiersch, Anton Zeilinger, and Hans J. Briegel. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 2018 DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1714936115

Contact:
Hendrik Poulsen Nautrup
Department of Theoretical Physics
University of Innsbruck
phone: +43 512 507 52243
email: hendrik.poulsen-nautrup@uibk.ac.at

Christian Flatz
Public Relations Office
University of Innsbruck
phone: +43 512 507 32022
email: christian.flatz@uibk.ac.at

Weitere Informationen:

https://www.uibk.ac.at/th-physik/qic-group/ - Quantum Information & Computation, University of Innsbruck
https://www.iqoqi-vienna.at/team/zeilinger-group/ - Zeilinger Group, IQOQI Vienna

Dr. Christian Flatz | Universität Innsbruck

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Computer model predicts how fracturing metallic glass releases energy at the atomic level
20.07.2018 | American Institute of Physics

nachricht What happens when we heat the atomic lattice of a magnet all of a sudden?
18.07.2018 | Forschungsverbund Berlin

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers

A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.

The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A smart safe rechargeable zinc ion battery based on sol-gel transition electrolytes

20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Reversing cause and effect is no trouble for quantum computers

20.07.2018 | Information Technology

Princeton-UPenn research team finds physics treasure hidden in a wallpaper pattern

20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>