15. January 2018 | Allgemein, News
Posted by aisolab

Artificial Intelligence accelerates progress around efficient fusion reactions

The fusion of atomic nuclei could become one of the solutions to future energy problems and may represent a significant advance in the technological development of humanity. Fusion reactions are still difficult to control, potentially damaging the so-called tokamaks, the fusion reactors that generate energy from plasma using magnetic fields. Disruptions of the results can occur at any time, which interrupt the fusion process. Artificial intelligence can help to anticipate and react correctly to these disturbances so that the damage is minimised and the process runs as smoothly as possible. Scientists are in the process of developing computer programs that enable them to predict the behaviour of plasma.

Scientists from Princeton University and the U. S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory are conducting initial experiments with Artificial Intelligence to test the software’s ability to predict. The group is led by William Tang, a renowned physicist and professor at Princeton University. He and his team develop the code for ITER, the “International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor” in France. They aim to demonstrate the applicability of Artificial Intelligence in this area of science. The software is called “Fusion Recurrent Neural Network”, FRNN for short, and uses a form of deep learning. This is an improved variant of machine learning that can process considerably more data. FRNN is particularly good at evaluating sequential data with great patterns. The team is the first to use a Deep Learning program to predict the complexities of fusion reactions.

This approach allowed the team to make more accurate predictions than before. So far, the experts have tried their hand at the Joint European Torus in Great Britain, the most massive Tokamak in operation. Soon ITER will face up to it. For ITER, the development of the Artificial Intelligence of the Fusion Recurrent Neural Network should be so advanced that it can make up to 95% accurate predictions when incidents occur. At the same time, the program should give fewer than 3% false alarms. The Deep Learning Program is powered by GPUs,”Graphic Processing Units”, unlike lower-performance CPUs. These make it possible to run thousands of programs at the same time. A demanding work for the hardware, which has to be distributed to different GPUs. The Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility, currently the fastest supercomputer in the United States, is used for this purpose.

Initially, the first experiments were carried out on Princeton University computers, where it turned out that the Artificial Intelligence of the FRNN is perfectly capable of processing the vast amounts of data and making useful predictions. In this way, Artificial Intelligence provides a valuable service to science by predicting the behaviour of plasma with pinpoint accuracy. FRNNN will soon be used by Tokamaks all over the world and will make an essential contribution to the progress of humanity.