Computer-inspired Quantum Experiments

by   Mario Krenn, et al.

The design of new devices and experiments in science and engineering has historically relied on the intuitions of human experts. This credo, however, has changed. In many disciplines, computer-inspired design processes, also known as inverse-design, have augmented the capability of scientists. Here we visit different fields of physics in which computer-inspired designs are applied. We will meet vastly diverse computational approaches based on topological optimization, evolutionary strategies, deep learning, reinforcement learning or automated reasoning. Then we draw our attention specifically on quantum physics. In the quest for designing new quantum experiments, we face two challenges: First, quantum phenomena are unintuitive. Second, the number of possible configurations of quantum experiments explodes combinatorially. To overcome these challenges, physicists began to use algorithms for computer-designed quantum experiments. We focus on the most mature and practical approaches that scientists used to find new complex quantum experiments, which experimentalists subsequently have realized in the laboratories. The underlying idea is a highly-efficient topological search, which allows for scientific interpretability. In that way, some of the computer-designs have led to the discovery of new scientific concepts and ideas – demonstrating how computer algorithm can genuinely contribute to science by providing unexpected inspirations. We discuss several extensions and alternatives based on optimization and machine learning techniques, with the potential of accelerating the discovery of practical computer-inspired experiments or concepts in the future. Finally, we discuss what we can learn from the different approaches in the fields of physics, and raise several fascinating possibilities for future research.


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