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Researchers in a lab at Aarhus University have developed a versatile remote gaming interface that allowed external experts as well as hundreds of citizen scientists all over the world to optimize a quantum gas experiment through multiplayer collaboration and in real time. The efforts of both teams dramatically improved upon the previous best solutions established after months of careful experimental optimization. Comparing domain experts, algorithms and citizen scientists is a first step towards unraveling how humans solve complex, natural science problems.
In a future characterized by algorithms with ever-increasing computational power, it is essential to understand the difference between human and machine intelligence. This will enable the development of hybrid intelligence interfaces that optimally exploit the best of both worlds. By making complex research challenges available for contribution by the general public, citizen science does exactly this. Numerous citizen science projects have shown that humans can compete with state-of-the-art algorithms to solve complex, natural science problems.
Projects - Collective - Scientists - Problems - Team
However, these projects have so far not addressed why a collective of citizen scientists can solve such complex problems. An interdisciplinary team of researchers from Aarhus University, Ulm University, and the University of Sussex, Brighton have now taken important first steps in this direction by analyzing the performance and search strategy of both a state-of-the-art computer algorithm and citizen scientists in their real-time optimization of an experimental laboratory setting.
The Alice Challenge
Alice - Challenge - Robert - Heck - Colleagues
In the Alice Challenge, Robert Heck and colleagues gave experts and citizen scientists live access to their ultra-cold quantum gas experiment. This was made possible via a novel remote interface created by the team at ScienceAtHome of Aarhus University. By manipulating laser beams and magnetic fields, the task was to cool as many atoms as possible down to extremely cold temperatures just above absolute zero at -273.15°C. This so-called Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC) is a...
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