Student-Faculty Programs Office
Summer 2017 Announcements of Opportunity

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Project:  Designing and Identifying Features for Classification
Disciplines:  Data Science, Astrophysics
Mentor:  Ashish Mahabal, Sr. Research Scientist, (PMA), aam@astro.caltech.edu
Mentor URL:  http://www.astro.caltech.edu/~aam  (opens in new window)
Background:  In the last several years the field of astronomy has moved from taking digital pictures to taking digital movies of large parts of the sky. We now routinely see several objects with large change in brightness over short periods of time. As Catalina Real-time Transient Survey, take 2 (CRTS II), the Zwicky Transient Factory (ZTF) start operating we expect the transient rates to ramp up. In a few years the rates will go up by orders of magnitude as the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) starts operating. Identifying the rare objects from millions of run-of-the-mill objects will be required.
Description:  The path to identifying rare objects includes generating good priors for different types of objects, and identifying the strengths of different surveys through the spacing of their observations (cadence), filters used (wavelength range), light collected (aperture) etc. This, in combination with expected features for different classes can lead to the objects being identified through the implementation of machine learning workflows.

The work will involve a combination of transfer learning (e.g. domain adaptation), deep learning (either images, feature sets or both) in order to map different datasets, and separate classes.
References:  CRTS: http://crts.caltech.edu/
ZTF: http://www.ptf.caltech.edu/ztf
LSST: https://project.lsst.org/
Deep Learning: http://deeplearning.net/tutorial/
Transfer Learning: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inductive_transfer
Student Requirements:  Proficiency in python, conversant with statistics basics, deep learning, knowledge about linux/unix, git and related software engineering techniques. Basic astronomy knowledge will be a plus.
Programs:  This AO can be done under the following programs:

  Program    Available To
       SURF    Caltech students only 

Click on a program name for program info and application requirements.


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Problems with or questions about submitting an AO?  Call Jen Manglos of the Student-Faculty Programs Office at (626) 395-2885.
 
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