For a long time scientists have been trying to capture as many signals as possible from space using large radio telescopes. However, the evaluation of the resulting huge amount of data is time-consuming and complex. Traditionally, researchers therefore rely on the help of classical algorithms. Scientists at the University of Berkeley have now linked this approach with the current trend in machine learning. So they have developed an artificial intelligence that learns from their mistakes and thus gets better and better in the analysis of the submitted data. A first success could already be booked: In a data set from August 2017, the classic algorithm discovered only 21 fast radio flashes – the artificial intelligence but still 72 more.
An alien species comes into question as a source
The discovery is not only of interest because it demonstrates the viability of the new approach. Rather, it is also a very rare phenomenon. As a rule, fast Racioblitze occur only individually. However, the signals now detected all come from the same source, which is located in a dwarf galaxy three billion light-years away. Disagreement is the science but still in the question of what exactly has caused the rapid radio flashes. In part, it is believed that these could come from the fusion of two neutron stars. Other researchers assume that a black hole has evaporated. But there are also some theories that do not exclude an extraterrestrial species as a source.
The largest radio telescope in the world is in China
Using the newly discovered signals, the researchers could at least come a little closer to solving the puzzle. Gerry Zhang, who developed the new approach together with his colleagues at Berkeley University, also hopes for many more discoveries in the future. Because now that it has been proven that the use of artificial intelligence in radio astronomy can be very useful, there are still many other applications in this area. At the same time, attempts are being made to collect even more and more accurate data by constructing ever larger radio telescopes. The world’s largest radio telescope was completed two years ago in China and has a diameter of more than five hundred meters.