Our physics depends on variables. For example, energy, mass, and velocity are the three variables that make up Einstein’s iconic E=MC2 equation. Without these variables, not even Einstein could have discovered the theory of relativity, so robotics at Columbia Tech asked itself how Einstein came to know these concepts in the first place. Can these variables be detected automatically?
According to researchers, such an opportunity would significantly speed up the process of scientific discovery. Even more surprising, according to a new study published in Natural Computational Science, variables that we are familiar with may not be the only variables. Is there such a thing?
The wrong set of variables
“I have always wondered if we ever encountered intelligent extraterrestrials, if they discovered the same laws of physics as we do, or if they could explain the universe in a different way,” he said. Was.” Research and director of the Creative Machines Laboratory in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Columbia University, where the work was primarily done.
“Some phenomena can seem complicated at first glance because we try to understand them using the wrong variables,” he said.
New artificial intelligence algorithm
To see if this is possible, scientists have developed new artificial intelligence algorithms to try and find out how. Scientists, therefore, trained an AI system to calculate the number of variables needed to describe a physical system and predict its evolution.
The purpose of this program was to use a video camera to observe physical phenomena, observe them, and then identify the smallest possible set of basic variables that could adequately capture the observed dynamics.
As detailed in a Columbia University press release, researchers began feeding the system live video of events they already knew would yield answers.
For example, he presented a video of a double pendulum, which exactly he is known to have four “state variables”: the angle and angular velocity of each arm. After several hours of analysis, the AI answered his 4.7 variables.