Stéphane Bressan and Christian Miniatura grew up in rival neighbourhoods of the naval garrison town of Toulon in southern France. They went to the same high school and the same college only a few years apart, but never were acquainted until 2006 when they were both working halfway across the world, at the National University of Singapore. Miniatura and Bressan became fast friends, meeting regularly to “put the world to rights” over French food and wine.
“One of our favourite debates was whether artificial intelligence can be useful to quantum physics,” says Bressan, an associate professor at the School of Computing. He was convinced that AI could lend a helping hand in solving some of physics’ longstanding problems. But Miniatura, a quantum physicist by training and the director of the Franco-Singaporean physics laboratory MajuLab, remained perplexed albeit intrigued at the possibility.