There’s plenty of speculation about what artificial intelligence, or AI, will look like in the future, but researchers from The Australian National University (ANU) are already harnessing its power.

The group from the ANU Department of Quantum Science has been experimenting with trapping atoms at very cold temperatures, in their efforts to build a quantum communication network.

Now they’ve developed an artificial neural network with AI to help them run their experiments. Based loosely on the human brain, neural networks allow computers to “learn” to perform tasks.

“We use AI to control a large number of inputs to our experiment – the different laser and magnetic field settings – to seek out the best possible experimental conditions,” said Dr Geoff Campbell, post-doctoral fellow at the Centre for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology.

“Because we have so many inputs we can only make educated guesses based on our understanding of what works best, but the AI is better at it than we are.”
Cold atoms are an important part of new technology like precision sensors and atomic clocks.

This latest research has demonstrated the potential for AI to optimise cold atomic systems. The solution found by the AI can trap twice as many cold atoms in half the time.

The study has been published in the journal Nature Communications.