RSSAf webinar co-hosted by ASSAf

Dr Michelle Lochner

The rise of the machines in our quest to understand the Universe

Abstract – Machine learning has impacted almost every aspect of our everyday lives, from google searches to politics. But it is also changing the way science is being done and is quickly becoming the tool of choice for handling masses of incoming data from current and future telescopes. The Vera C. Rubin Observatory being built in Chile will detect around 10 million changing objects in the sky every night, while the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), being built in South Africa and Australia, will deliver over 100 petabytes of data per day. It is only with advanced machine learning technology that we can cope with this data deluge. In this talk, I will give an overview of machine learning, and some of its astonishing achievements, and discuss its application to modern astronomy. I will mention some of my own work using machine learning to detect anomalous astrophysical phenomena and share a fascinating scientific discovery made by one my algorithms in MeerKAT data.