AlphaTensor: Discovering new algorithms
Since thousands of years, algorithms have been used by mathematicians to perform basic operations. Ancient Egyptians developed an algorithm for multiplying two numbers without the need of a multiplication chart. Greek mathematician Euclid also described an algorithm that is still used today to calculate the greatest common factor.
During the Islamic Golden Age a Persian mathematician named Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi developed new algorithms for solving linear and quadratic problems. Algoritmi is the Latin translation of al-Khwarizmi. This led to the word algorithm. Algorithms are used in many areas of society, from algebra classes to cutting-edge scientific research. But the discovery of new algorithms, which is extremely difficult, shows the incredible reasoning ability of the human brain.
Our paper published in Nature today introduces AlphaTensor. It is the first AI system to discover novel, efficient and provably accurate algorithms for fundamental tasks like matrix multiplication. This paper sheds new light on a mathematical question that has been open for 50 years about the fastest way of multiplying two matrices.