Big Astronomy Begins: Searching for Exoplanets with AI

To uncover the mysteries of the universe, astronomers are becoming greedy, making more observations than they can possibly analyze manually. Large photometric surveys from space telescopes like Kepler and the future TESS are no exception and today modern astronomers use artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms to help them reveal the existence of exoplanets hidden in many years of observations of hundreds of thousands of stars. For this SETI Talk, we invited two researchers involved in the Kepler mission and AI to discuss the potential of neural networks to transform astronomy. Jeff Smith, Data scientist at the SETI Institute, has developed data processing and planet detection algorithms for Kepler since 2010 and is now involved in developing the pipeline for the future TESS mission. Chris Shallue, a senior software engineer at Google AI has used a neural network to analyze archival data from the Kepler Space Telescope to reveal the existence of two unknown exoplanets, named Kepler-90i and Kepler-80g. After presenting their recent work, we will discuss the impact of this new mode of scientific discovery, where artificial intelligence can assist humans in mapping out parts of the galaxy that have not yet been fully revealed.

Wednesday, 02/21/18

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