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AI and Mathematics: paper by Dr Petar Veličković features on cover of Nature’s latest issue

8 December 2021 College life

A paper co-authored by Dr Petar Veličković, an Associate of Clare Hall, has been published by Nature. The paper, which appears on the cover of Nature’s latest issue, demonstrates how AI can successfully guide the intuition of mathematicians, and be a mathematician’s ‘pocket calculator of the twenty-first century’.

Dr Veličković is a Staff Research Scientist at DeepMind, and an Affiliated Lecturer at the University of Cambridge. He holds a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Cambridge (Trinity College), obtained under the supervision of Professor Pietro Liò’, who is a Fellow of Clare Hall.

On the publication, Dr Veličković comments:
It’s hard to overstate how happy I am to finally see this come together, after years of careful progress towards our aim. I was leading the graph neural network modelling on the representation theory task: working towards settling the combinatorial invariance conjecture, a long-standing open problem in the area. My work earned me the co-credit of “discovering math results”, an honour I never expected to receive. We showed how AI is well-positioned to help mathematicians in problems like this, as meaningful patterns emerge only once inputs get very unwieldy in size.’

Regarding becoming an Associate of Clare Hall, Dr Veličković adds:
‘My recent election as an Associate at Clare Hall has proven a wonderful and vibrant addition to my life and work at Cambridge; further, it put me in touch with so many leading academics in both Computer Science and Mathematics, which proves invaluable when pondering over the contributions of many impactful projects, such as this one. It is a true pleasure to be part of the Clare Hall family.’