University of Vienna researchers have developed Melvin, an algorithm that helps design experiments in quantum optics.
The research began with doctoral student Mario Krenn, who was trying to design a particular experiment by putting together lasers and mirrors in such a way that would lead to a specific quantum state. At one point, Krenn realized he was merely guessing, and an algorithm would be able to guess just as well as a human, but much faster. Krenn defined the goal, developed an algorithm, and let it run overnight, and in the morning the algorithm had produced a solution.txt file.
The algorithm works by taking the foundation of a quantum experiment, in this case lasers and mirrors, and the quantum state desired as an outcome, and randomly runs through different setups. If a random setup results in the desired outcome, Melvin will simplify it. In addition, the algorithm can learn from experience, remembering which configurations result in which outcomes, so it can use those and develop them as needed.
Krenn used Melvin on Greenberger-Horne-Zeilinger (GHZ) states, and the algorithm produced 51 experiments resulting in entangled states, including one that delivered the GHZ state.
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