Researchers have taught an artificial intelligence program used to recognise faces on Facebook to identify galaxies in deep space.
The result is an AI bot named ClaRAN that scans images taken by radio telescopes.
ClaRAN is the brainchild of big data specialist Dr. Chen Wu and astronomer Dr. Ivy Wong, both from The University of Western Australia node of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR).
Dr. Wong said black holes are found at the centre of most, if not all, galaxies.
“These supermassive black holes occasionally burp out jets that can be seen with a radio telescope,” she said.
“Over time, the jets can stretch a long way from their host galaxies, making it difficult for traditional computer programs to figure out where the galaxy is.
“That’s what we’re trying to teach ClaRAN to do.”
Dr. Wu said ClaRAN grew out of an open source version of Microsoft and Facebook’s object detection software.
He said the program was completely overhauled and trained to recognise galaxies instead of people.
ClaRAN itself is also open source and publicly available on GitHub.