Abstract

This paper presents results from the first use of neural networks for the real-time feedback control of high temperature plasmas in a tokamak fusion experiment. The tokamak is currently the principal experimental device for research into the magnetic confinement approach to controlled fusion. In the tokamak, hydrogen plasmas, at temperatures of up to 100 Million K, are confined by strong magnetic fields. Accurate control of the position and shape of the plasma boundary requires real-time feedback control of the magnetic field structure on a time-scale of a few tens of microseconds. Software simulations have demonstrated that a neural network approach can give significantly better performance than the linear technique currently used on most tokamak experiments. The practical application of the neural network approach requires high-speed hardware, for which a fully parallel implementation of the multilayer perceptron, using a hybrid of digital and analogue technology, has been developed.