DeepMind scientists say they trained an A.I. to control a nuclear fusion reactor
Scientists at DeepMind have found another real-world application for their artificial intelligence software. The London-based AI lab, which is owned by Alphabet, announced Wednesday that it has trained an AI system to control and sculpt a superheated plasma inside a nuclear fusion reactor. Nuclear fusion, a process that powers the stars of the universe, involves smashing and fusing hydrogen, which is a common element of seawater. The process, which releases vast amounts of energy, has been touted as a potentially limitless source of clean energy, but a number of technical challenges still need to be overcome. Here on Earth, scientists use tokamaks — doughnut-shaped vessels surrounded by electromagnetic coils — to try to recreate the nuclear fusion reactions that occur in outer space.