Source: The Register
Two companies, Google and Tri Alpha Energy have developed a new algorithm that, As its creators believe, will help scientists to heat plasma in a thermonuclear reactor with less energy than now. We are talking about a minimum increase in the efficiency of the reactor, about any "breakthrough" can not be said. But even this can be called a significant achievement.
Who needs percentages to increase the efficiency of high-temperature plasma generation? Yes, all the same scientist. The fact is that the reactors, where experts have been trying to achieve a self-sustaining reaction of atomic fusion for several decades, are extremely expensive. Their exploitation is also very expensive. Yes, if you achieve the desired result, everything will pay off a thousandfold. But so far, money is just leaving, like water in the sand, there are successes, but it's still far from getting energy with the help of a thermonuclear. Therefore, physicists try to optimize costs where possible.
The developers of the software platform for optimization of plasma heating called their technology Optometrist Algorithm. As already mentioned, the algorithm helps to work with plasma with a little more efficiency than usual. It takes a lot of energy to "ignite" the plasma in the reactor, and it costs well.
"We simplified the problem and decided to find such plasma states that physicists find interesting, while we do not want Break the car. This is a vivid example of the work of a person and a computer when the work together is more effective than singly, "says project manager Ted Boltz.
To start the reaction, the hot plasma is introduced into the thermonuclear reactor C-2U (its length is 20 meters ) Company Tri Alpha Energy. This is a magnetically controlled process.
In order to heat the plasma to the temperature that is necessary to trigger the fusion of the nuclei of chemical elements, a lot of work needs to be done. First of all, it is required to specify thousands of parameters, from the simplest kind of voltage in individual elements of the reactor, to complex ones, like the strength of the magnetic field in some "areas" of the reactor. To search for an effective state of plasma, thousands of experiments are required. In order for synthesis to proceed, it is necessary to heat the plasma strongly, creating a small star inside the reactor.
If you use the algorithm created by Google, then the energy loss during such experiments decreases, and the temperature of the plasma, on the contrary – increases. Unfortunately, the report does not have too much technical information. Almost there is no code, there is only a description of the algorithm and the sequence of actions when using it.
But now and again in the report there are such areas
Now the creators of the algorithm have an intention to improve the program in accordance with the results obtained. The team of scientists has already achieved significant success, yet launching a fusion of atoms in its reactor. It only happened for a few milliseconds, but it happened.
Developers compare the principle of the work of their software platform with the "adjustment" of the person's vision by the oculist. The doctor selects lenses that are suitable for a particular patient, and optimize his vision. Sometimes, optimization is not too significant, but the patient starts to see everything much better. So with the plasma – the operations are all the same, but they are more accurate, they hit directly at the target. One of the main achievements that we managed to achieve is the search for and commissioning of a certain type of parameters that are optimal for a thermonuclear reactor.
Tri Alpha Energy Company has been working for a long time, and all the time its specialists are trying to find the very state of the plasma, at which the thermonuclear reaction can begin. The company changed its old installation two years ago, having developed an equilibrated system. Now it is tested, and an algorithm helps to test it in the work, which is mentioned in this material.
Despite the years spent by the company to find a possible way to light a small star quickly and inexpensively in its laboratory, the work is still going on, and nobody plans to throw it.
Google's algorithm, in addition to optimizing parameters, also speeds up the calculations that are carried out by the company's specialists. Instead of months, this process now takes only a few hours. In addition, it was possible to achieve a significant reduction in energy costs and to achieve an increase in the total energy of the plasma. Scientists hope that in a short time people will be able to get almost free energy thanks to thermonuclear fusion. And despite the fact that all this is more like a fantasy, some states are taking a fast start of thermonuclear reactors as a reality. Among such countries are India and China.