A Triangle of Influence: Bringing Together Physics, Pure Mathematics, and Computer Science

Feb 4, 2021 12:00 PM — 1:30 PM
Accelerator Winter 2021

Recent advances in machine learning have begun creating new bridges to physics and mathematics that have traditionally existed between the latter two. Given this progress, I will speculate about where we are and where things might be headed, including through the recently launched NSF AI Institute for Artificial Intelligence and Fundamental Interactions. Specifically, I’ll survey well-known machine learning results in supervised learning, reinforcement learning, and generative models, and explain cases where these techniques are already impacting physics and math. In more detail, I will explain some remarkable similarities between neural networks and quantum field theory that might point towards a theoretical understanding of deep learning, and also how an AI agent’s ability to unknot headphones might provide useful in cracking a foundational problem in topology.

Jim Halverson
Jim Halverson
Assistant Professor of Physics