A group of physicists from Australia managed to develop an artificial intelligence program based on a machine which brought the success of a delicate experiment.
Even if the atom’s state of matter was very fragile, the machine made a satisfactory performance. Paul Wigley, the co-lead researcher from the Canberra-based Australian National University (ANU), confessed that he was surprised by the fact that the machine learnt to perform the experiment by itself in just an hour. According to him, not even a computer programme would have been able to do that, especially in such a short time.
The result of this experiment is an exotic state of matter known as the Bose-Einstein condensate. This state was first predicted by the Indian physicist Satyendra Bose and Albert Einstein in the 1920s. Later, in 1995, scientists discovered that it was possible to create the ideal conditions for this state of matter only if they cooled a gas with laser traps down to a fraction of a Kelvin.
In normal conditions, meaning at room temperature, atoms are very fast and behave like billiard balls, hitting each other when they interact. Because atomic agitation depends on temperature, if you lower it then molecules and atoms will become slower. At the exact temperature of 0.000001 degrees above absolute zero, atoms will gather together into a dense package and behave like a super atom.
Such a complicated process as the Bose-Einstein condensate brought the Nobel prize to three physicists in 2001. But even if you have a good plan on how to make the condensate, it still requires a lot of work to get it right. The best way was to create a machine that could do this process by itself. Therefore, it would not take so long, and it would require less effort, giving the researchers enough time to focus on solving other challenging aspects.
The Australian National University researchers were the ones that managed not only to build the machine but to cool a gas down to a millionth of a degree above absolute zero or 1 microkelvin with the help of three lasers. Then the outcome was based on the A.I. performance. After many failed attempts, the machine established the correct balance to make Bose-Einstein condensate.
According to Dr. Michael Hush from UNSW ADFA, scientists can now manufacture a working device to measure gravity with the help of this discovery, a device that would fix and recalibrate itself and all thanks to this successful experiment.