Google gets involved in Hot Fusion

Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOG); the company formerly known as Google, is lending its vast data crunching capabilities to the battle to make hot fusion a reality. Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOGL) and Tri Alpha Energy have teamed up to create an algorithm that is designed to make it easier commercialize nuclear fusion.

The Optometrist algorithm is designed to combine high-powered computer power with human intuition in an effort to solve some of the many problems related to hot fusion, The Guardian reported. Optometrist was developed by Google Research and tested at Tri Alpha.

“The whole thing is beyond what we know how to do even with Google-scale computer resources,” Ted Baltz of Google’s Accelerated Science Team told The Guardian. That’s saying a lot because Alphabet’s resources are vast; the Silicon Valley reported $99.28 billion in revenues in June 2017. Alphabet also reported having $94.71 billion in cash in the bank on the same day.

Harnessing Google Speeds up Fusion Research

Teaming up with Alphabet enabled Tri Alpha to speed up research with its C2-U machine Tokamak fusion reactor. Operations of the machine that used to take a month can now be completed in just a few hours, The Journal Science reported.

Among other things Tri Alpha was able to cut energy losses by 50% and increase plasma production which brings the achievement of hot fusion closer.

“Results like this might take years to solve without the power of advanced computation,” Tri Alpha’s Chief Technology Officer and President Michl Binderbauer told The Guardian.

“We boiled the problem down to ‘let’s find plasma behaviors that an expert human plasma physicist thinks are interesting, and let’s not break the machine when we’re doing it’,” Baltz said. “This was a classic case of humans and computers doing a better job together than either could have separately.”

Deploying Optometrist enabled Tri Alpha to develop a new; more powerful and sophisticated reactor called Norman. Norman went live in July and is now working with Optometrist. If the experiments with Norman are successful Tri Alpha will next try to build a demonstration power generator, in other words a commercial fusion reactor.

Will Optometrist Make Fusion a Reality?

Tri Alpha was cofounded by Microsoft founder Paul Allen and recently received over $500 million (£383m) in investment. That makes it a very valuable unicorn or pre-IPO company. It is not clear if Allen’s old buddy Bill Gates is investing in Tri Alpha. Gates has been making major investments in energy research in attempt to find a solution for global warming lately.

Hopefully Optometrist will be used in other hot fusion experiments; such as Germany’s Wendelstein 7-X stellerator reactor. The weird looking Wendelstein went live last year and began producing plasma the key ingredient in the hot fusion sauce in December.

Another experiment that might benefit from Optometrist is MIT’s ARC tokamak reactor. If it worked as advertised ARC would create enough electricity for 100,000 people to use or power a small city. The man behind ARC, MIT professor Dennis Whyte predicted that fusion reactors could be built with off-the shelf technology by 2025, Optometrist might make that prediction come true.

An even more intriguing use for Optometrist might to be put cold fusion claims like those made by Andrea Rossi and Robert Godes to the test. Perhaps it will also be used in the low energy nuclear reaction (LENR) research going on at Texas Tech in Lubbock.