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Google Enters Race For Nuclear Fusion Technology

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C-2U plasma confinement machine

The Optometrist algorithm will cut the time it takes the C-2U plasma confinement machine to work out best possible options to form plasma from a month to just a few hours.

Credit: Tri Alpha Energy Inc.

Google Research has developed a new computer algorithm called Optometrist in collaboration with Tri Alpha Energy. The algorithm facilitates integrating high-powered computation with human judgment to find new and better solutions to challenging problems in nuclear fusion.

Optometrist has substantially accelerated experiments with plasmas, with researchers realizing a 50-percent reduction in energy losses from Tri Alpha Energy's C2-U system and a subsequent boost in total plasma energy. "We boiled the problem down to 'let's find plasma behaviors that an expert human plasma physicist thinks are interesting, and let's not break the machine when we're doing it,'" says Google researcher Ted Baltz. "This was a classic case of humans and computers doing a better job together than either could have separately."

With Optometrist, the researchers found a configuration in which the hydrogen beam fully balanced the cooling losses, so the total energy in the plasma actually climbed after it formed.

From The Guardian 
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Abstracts Copyright © 2017 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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