AI beats astroboffins at sniffing out fast radio bursts amid the universe's clutter

www.theregister.co.uk | 9/11/2018 | Staff
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AI is helping astronomers spot fast radio bursts, a mysterious class of signal emitted from a new type of object very rarely found in space that boffins are still trying to classify.

Fast radio bursts (FRBs) are difficult to study. They don’t crop up too often - there have only been around 30 confirmed events since their discovery over a decade ago - and the energetic flares are merely blips in the open sky, lasting only a few milliseconds.

Scientists - Sources - Codenamed - FRB - Years

Luckily, scientists have managed to hone in one of the most intriguing sources found yet. Codenamed FRB 121102, it’s three billion light years away from Earth and is the only site that is currently known to repeatedly send out these radio bursts.

They analysed data taken from Green Bank Telescope observatory in Virginia to see if they could find any more bursts that they might have missed using a convolutional neural network (CNN). The system was fed a series of spectrograms that show the frequency and duration of a signal. Since real FRBs are rare, the researchers simulated data by creating a training dataset of around 400,000 images, half contain simulated pulses and the half do not.

Spectrograms - CNN - Patterns - Characteristics

These fake spectrograms were then fed into the CNN so it could learn what patterns and characteristics are most likely...
(Excerpt) Read more at: www.theregister.co.uk
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