The new junior research group “Astroinformatics” has recently commenced its activities at the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies (HITS). It will develop new approaches for analyzing and processing the continuously growing amount of data in astronomy, which is stored in various archives. Physicist and computer scientist Dr. Kai Polsterer leads the group. With this, HITS comprises a total of nine research groups.
Results of the new computational tool to determine the redshift of 130,000 quasars. They show the comparison between the actual redshift (x-axis) and calculations according to a model (y-axis).
Graphic: Polsterer / HITS
“We focus on using new approaches to support observing scientists with their research,” says Kai Polsterer. The newly established junior group complements the activities of the research group “Theoretical Astrophysics”, led by Prof. Volker Springel,. which deals with computer simulations for galaxy formation and the role of dark matter. In the spring of 2014, yet another research group will be established and further strengthen the studies of Astrophysics at HITS. The focus of this research group will be on high-energy astrophysics.
In the past twenty years, computers have revolutionized astronomy. Due to new detectors and innovative telescopes, today’s astronomers can observe objects in unprecedented extend and with high resolution. Adding to this, there are new, untapped wavelength-regimes. Special “Survey Telescopes” map the sky and constantly collect data. Kai Polsterer wants to improve astronomers’ access to data that is available in archives in such a way as to promote a more intuitive research. As an example, he mentions the “Sloan Digital Sky Survey” which maps the sky with images in five wavelengths and detailed spectroscopy, and makes them digitally available. “There are many treasure chests full of data to be unearthed, but it is not easy for astronomers to actually browse the data, i.e. to do exploratory work,” the 37-year-old says. In a first step, he wants to develop tools that automatically extract object features from the data at hand, such as the so-called redshift. The redshift indicates how far away a galaxy is from us. A significant metrological effort is required in order to directly measure this distance. Therefore, the model-based, statistical values are very important for astronomers.
“The amount of data increases exponentially. The number of astronomers does not,” says Kai Polsterer. Methods of computer science can be of great help in dealing with this situation. For that reason, the new HITS group is working to increase the popularity of machine learning approaches in astronomy. Kai Polsterer is an expert in both areas: After having received his diploma in Computer Science from the Technical University of Dortmund, he earned his doctorate in Physics and Astronomy at the University of Bochum. Later on, he was head of software development in the project “Lucifer” at Bochum University. The Heidelberg State Observatory (Landessternwarte Heidelberg, LSW) and the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA) are involved in this project as well. “Lucifer” is a combination of camera and spectrograph at the world’s largest optical telescope, the Large Binocular Telescope in Arizona. This instrument was built for studies in the near-infrared spectral range, which is invisible to the eye. Kai Polsterer will continue to work closely with the two Heidelberg facilities LSW and MPIA, as well as with the “German Astrophysical Virtual Observatory” led by Prof. Joachim Wambsganss (Heidelberg University).Press contact:
Dr. Peter Saueressig | idw
Information integration and artificial intelligence for better diagnosis and therapy decisions
24.05.2017 | Fraunhofer MEVIS - Institut für Bildgestützte Medizin
World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world
18.05.2017 | RMIT University
Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...
In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.
In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...
24.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.05.2017 | Event News