A new technique that can automatically classify phases of physical systems could help scientists investigate novel materials.


Copyright: news.mit.edu – “Scientists Use Generative AI To Answer Complex Questions In Physics”


SwissCognitive_Logo_RGBWhen water freezes, it transitions from a liquid phase to a solid phase, resulting in a drastic change in properties like density and volume. Phase transitions in water are so common most of us probably don’t even think about them, but phase transitions in novel materials or complex physical systems are an important area of study.

To fully understand these systems, scientists must be able to recognize phases and detect the transitions between. But how to quantify phase changes in an unknown system is often unclear, especially when data are scarce.

Researchers from MIT and the University of Basel in Switzerland applied generative artificial intelligence models to this problem, developing a new machine-learning framework that can automatically map out phase diagrams for novel physical systems.

Their physics-informed machine-learning approach is more efficient than laborious, manual techniques which rely on theoretical expertise. Importantly, because their approach leverages generative models, it does not require huge, labeled training datasets used in other machine-learning techniques.

Such a framework could help scientists investigate the thermodynamic properties of novel materials or detect entanglement in quantum systems, for instance. Ultimately, this technique could make it possible for scientists to discover unknown phases of matter autonomously.

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“If you have a new system with fully unknown properties, how would you choose which observable quantity to study? The hope, at least with data-driven tools, is that you could scan large new systems in an automated way, and it will point you to important changes in the system. This might be a tool in the pipeline of automated scientific discovery of new, exotic properties of phases,” says Frank Schäfer, a postdoc in the Julia Lab in the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and co-author of a paper on this approach.[…]

Read more: www.news.mit.edu