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Volume 610 Issue 7930, 6 October 2022

Matrix games

The cover shows an artistic impression of a matrix multiplication tensor — a 3D array of numbers — in the process of being solved by deep learning. Efficient matrix multiplication algorithms can help speed up many computations, and in this week’s issue, Alhussein Fawzi and his colleagues at DeepMind show how machine learning can uncover faster algorithms. The system, called AlphaTensor, was trained on a game that involved finding the best way to ‘decompose’ a matrix multiplication tensor so as to find matrix multiplication algorithms. After training, AlphaTensor was able to rediscover previously known algorithms as well as to uncover new ones that, in some cases, improved on algorithms that have resisted improvement for more than 50 years.

Cover image: Adam Cain/Domhnall Malone/DeepMind

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