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Rakesh  Sharma's picture
Journalist Freelance Journalist

I am a New York-based freelance journalist interested in energy markets. I write about energy policy, trading markets, and energy management topics. You can see more of my writing...

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  • Aug 20, 2021 8:43 pm GMT
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"One of Ferreira's models predicts disruptions in a super-hot plasma. In the study, he explains that depending on how it is trained, the model can either predict the likelihood of disruption—which can result in a plasma escaping confinement, jolting equipment, drastically reducing the plasma's temperature, and ending the reaction— or estimate the time at which that disruption will occur.

A second model detects anomalies in the plasma. Trained only on reactions where disruptions did not occur, the model can reproduce these "good" experiments. If the data originates in an experiment that ended in a disruption, the model can identify when and how the data diverges from that of a successful reaction. Scientists could use this process to better understand what ultimately leads to disruptions and eventually to run reactions in which disruptions are less likely."

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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Aug 20, 2021

Used properly, AI can unlock efficiency and optimization in pretty much all energy systems-- the question comes down to what the potential gain is vs. the cost. This is indeed an intriguing opportunity

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Aug 21, 2021

Rakesh, it seems what they're calling "AI" here is system modeling, which in nuclear physics has been done on computers since the 1970s (in early fission experiements it was done on reams of paper by an army of analysts).

The main problem with true AI is an over-reliance of assumptions. Every modeler is forced to make assumptions, and there are so many variables on an atomic level, and so much energy is being produced so quickly, it's truly impossible to predict with any certainty what will happen next. A quantum physicist will explain why it's literally impossible to know what will happen next, but that's beyond my ken.

Ask Elon Musk about the limits of AI. The artificial intelligence driving his EVs is showing an alarming propensity to steer them directly into emergency vehicles stopped by the side of the road - something to do with the flashing lights. Artificial Confusion (AC) will soon be the subject of someone's Ph.D. thesis, I'm sure.

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