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  • richardmitnick 10:05 am on October 26, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Astronomers enlist AI in the search for 'lethal' baby star eruptions", UChicago,   

    From University of New South Wales (AU) and UChicago: “Astronomers enlist AI in the search for ‘lethal’ baby star eruptions” 

    U NSW bloc

    From University of New South Wales (AU)

    and

    U Chicago bloc

    University of Chicago

    26 Oct 2020

    Scientists have trained an artificial intelligence (AI) to help understand the evolution of young stars and their planets – a new benchmark in the use of AI in astronomy.

    1
    Bright flashes of light on a star’s surface are stellar flares: powerful bursts of radiation caused by the release of a star’s magnetic energy. Strong flares can be followed by an ejection of star material, like the one pictured above. Photo: NASA/GSFC/SDO.

    NASA/SDO.

    Young stars – just like young humans – are prone to temper flares. But star flares can incinerate everything around them, including the atmospheres of nearby planets starting to form.

    Finding out how often young stars erupt can help scientists understand where to look for habitable planets. But until now, searching for these flares involved poring over thousands of measurements of star brightness variations, called ‘light curves’, by eye.

    Now, an international team of scientists including UNSW Sydney’s Dr Ben Montet have used machine learning to make the search faster and more effective.

    The scientists taught a neural network – a type of artificial intelligence – to detect the telltale light patterns of a stellar flare.

    “With the help of the neural network, we were able to find more than 23,000 flares across thousands of young stars,” said Dr Montet, Scientia Lecturer at UNSW Science and co-author of the study.

    “Finding stellar flares – which can be lethal for the developing atmospheres of nearby planets – can help us work out where to look for habitable planets.”

    The findings, published over the weekend in The Astronomical Journal and the Journal of Open Source Software, offer a new benchmark in the use of AI in astronomy, as well as a better understanding of the evolution of young stars and their planets.

    “When we say young, we mean only a million to 800 million years old,” said Ms Adina Feinstein, a University of Chicago graduate student and first author on the paper.

    “Any planets near a star are still forming at this point. This is a particularly fragile time, and a flare from a star can easily evaporate any water or atmosphere that’s been collected.”

    Casting a neural net

    NASA’s TESS telescope, aboard a satellite that has been orbiting Earth since 2018, is specifically designed to search for exoplanets.

    NASA/MIT TESS replaced Kepler in search for exoplanets.

    Flares from faraway stars show up on TESS’s images, but traditional algorithms have a hard time picking out the shape from the background noise of star activity.

    But neural networks are particularly good at looking for patterns – like Google’s AI picking cats out of internet images – and astronomers have increasingly begun to look to them to classify astronomical data.

    Ms Feinstein and Dr Montet worked with a team of scientists from NASA, the Flatiron Institute, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Texas at Austin to pull together a set of identified flares and not-flares to train the neural net.

    “The neural net turned out to be really good at finding small flares,” said Dr Montet, who was the principal investigator on the study.

    “Those are actually really hard to find with other methods.”

    Once the researchers were satisfied with the neural net’s performance, they applied it to the full set of data: more than 3200 stars.

    They found that stars like our sun only have a few flares, and those flares seem to drop off after about 50 million years.

    “This is good for fostering planetary atmospheres – a calmer stellar environment means the atmospheres have a better chance of surviving,” Ms Feinstein said.

    In contrast, cooler stars called red dwarfs tended to flare much more frequently.

    “Red dwarfs have been seen to host small rocky planets; if those planets are being bombarded when they’re young, this could prove detrimental for retaining any atmosphere,” she said.

    3
    The research team found over 23,000 flares across thousands of young stars with the help of the neural net. Image: Shutterstock.

    Searching for habitable planets

    The results help scientists understand the odds of habitable planets surviving around different types of stars, and how atmospheres form. This can help them pinpoint the most likely places to look for habitable planets elsewhere in the universe.

    The scientists also investigated the connection between stellar flares and star spots, like the kind we see on our own sun’s surface.

    “The spottiest our sun ever gets is maybe 0.3% of the surface,” said Dr Montet.

    “For some of these stars we’re seeing, the surface is basically all spots. This reinforces the idea that spots and flares are connected, as magnetic events.”

    The scientists next want to adapt the neural net to look for planets lurking around young stars.

    “Currently we only know of about a dozen younger than 50 million years, but they’re so valuable for learning how planetary atmospheres evolve,” Ms Feinstein said.

    Dr Montet will also be extending this neural net framework at UNSW.

    “We will apply these same methods in a search for young planets in the same data set,” he said.

    “This will hopefully lead to a ‘rise of the machines’ where we can apply machine learning algorithms to find a bunch of exciting new planets using the same methods.”

    See the full article here .

    See also the article from UChicago here.


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    U NSW Campus

    Welcome to UNSW Australia (AU) (The University of New South Wales), one of Australia’s leading research and teaching universities. At UNSW, we take pride in the broad range and high quality of our teaching programs. Our teaching gains strength and currency from our research activities, strong industry links and our international nature; UNSW has a strong regional and global engagement.

    In developing new ideas and promoting lasting knowledge we are creating an academic environment where outstanding students and scholars from around the world can be inspired to excel in their programs of study and research. Partnerships with both local and global communities allow UNSW to share knowledge, debate and research outcomes. UNSW’s public events include concert performances, open days and public forums on issues such as the environment, healthcare and global politics. We encourage you to explore the UNSW website so you can find out more about what we do.

     
  • richardmitnick 2:37 pm on May 11, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "How an episode of ‘Chopped’ led to a fix for future particle accelerators", Fermilab scientist designs innovative spun-sugar electrospinning technique, , , UChicago   

    From University of Chicago: “How an episode of ‘Chopped’ led to a fix for future particle accelerators” 

    U Chicago bloc

    From University of Chicago

    May 10, 2019
    Caitlyn Buongiorno

    Fermilab scientist designs innovative spun-sugar electrospinning technique.


    1
    In electrospinning, a positive charge is applied to liquidized material to create thin strands that eventually harden into a solid, fibrous material. Photo by Reidar Hahn

    Bob Zwaska, a scientist at the UChicago-affiliated Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, was watching a contestant on the cooking show Chopped spin sugar for their dessert when he realized the same principle might be applicable to accelerator targets.

    The technique he spun out of the idea could hugely boost the power at which future particle accelerators could operate—helping us unlock the secrets of how our universe is built.

    One of the ways particle accelerators produce particles is by firing particle beams at targets. These targets are stationary, solid blocks of material, such as graphite or beryllium. When the beam collides with the target, it produces a spray of particles that can inform scientists about the fundamental building blocks of the universe.

    For example, the pioneering international Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment, or DUNE, an experiment hosted by Fermilab and developed in collaboration with more than 170 institutions worldwide, seeks to understand why matter exists in the universe by unlocking the mysteries of ghostly particles called neutrinos.

    FNAL LBNF/DUNE from FNAL to SURF, Lead, South Dakota, USA

    But the experiment is limited by how much the targets can handle; to solve these mysteries, the accelerator beam used by DUNE needs to reach a power of at least 1.2 megawatts—twice the amount current targets can handle.

    The point of collision between the beam and the target—an area significantly smaller than the target itself, varying between the size of an ant and the graphite in a mechanical pencil—as rapidly and repeatedly heated to above 500 degrees Celsius. This heat causes that tiny area to try to expand, but because the currently used targets are solid, there’s no room for expansion. Instead, the hot spot pushes against the surrounding area over and over again, like a jackhammer. This has the potential to damage the target.

    When you dive into a pool, your collision with the water causes waves to ripple across the surface. When the waves reach the edge of the pool, they will rebound and cross over other waves, either destroying each other or combining to make a larger wave. In a pool, if a wave gets too large, the water can simply splash over the edge. In a solid target, however, if a wave gets too big, the material will crack.

    At the Fermilab particle accelerator’s current beam intensities, this isn’t a problem, because targets can withstand the resulting waves for a long time. As Fermilab upgrades its accelerator complex and the intensity increases, that endurance time drops drastically.

    “Worldwide, there is a push for higher-intensity machines to create rare particles. These targets have sometimes been the sole limiting factor in the performance of such facilities,” Zwaska said. “So, to research areas of new physics, we have to be pushing for new technologies to confront this problem.”

    A new spin

    Tasked with coming up with an alternative target to use in high-powered accelerators, like the ones that will send beam to DUNE, Zwaska envisioned a target that consists of many twists and turns to prevent any wave buildup. This sinuous target would also be strong and solid at the microscale.

    He first tested graphite ropes, 3-D-printed fibers, and mostly hollow, reticulated solids before he stumbled upon the spun-sugar concept, which led him to electrospinning.

    First proposed in the early 1900s to produce thinner artificial silk, electrospinning has been used for air filtration in cars, wound dressing and pharmaceutical drugs. Like spinning sugar, electrospinning involves using a liquidized material to create thin strands that eventually harden into the desired structure. Instead of heating the liquid, electrospinning applies a positive charge to it. The charge on the liquid creates an attraction between it and a neutral plate, placed some distance away. This attraction stretches the material towards the plate, creating a solid, fibrous material.

    For accelerator targets, specialists turn metal or ceramic into a solid but porous material that consists of thousands of fiber strands less than a micrometer in diameter. That’s less than a hundredth the thickness of an average human hair, and about a third of a spider’s webbing.

    When the particle beam collides with an electrospun target, the fibers won’t propagate any waves. The lack of potentially material-damaging waves means that these targets can withstand much higher beam intensity.

    Instead of a pool, imagine you jump into a ball pit. Your collision will disrupt the arrangement of the balls immediately around you but leave the surrounding ones alone. The electrospun target acts the same way. The process leaves space between each fiber, allowing the fibers to expand uniformly, avoiding the jackhammer effect.

    Targeting better systems

    While this new technology potentially solves many of the issues with current targets, it has its own obstacles to overcome. Typically, the process to make an electrospun target takes days, with experts frequently having to stop to correct complications in the way the material accumulates.

    Sujit Bidhar, a postdoctoral researcher at Fermilab, is trying to address these issues. Bidhar is developing and testing methods that increase the number of fiber spin-off points that form at a single time, produce a thicker nanofiber target, and decrease the amount of electricity needed to create the positive charge. These advancements would both speed up and simplify the process.

    While he’s still trying different electrospinning techniques, Bidhar has already developed a new patent-pending electrospinning system, including a novel power supply.

    Bidhar’s electrospinning unit is more compact, more lightweight, simpler and cheaper than most conventional units.

    It’s also much safer to use due to its limited output power. Present commercial power supplies put out an amount of electric power that far exceeds what is needed to make electrospun targets. Bidhar’s power supply unit reduces the electric power output and overall unit size by half, which also makes it safer to use.

    “Medical personnel would be able to use this power supply to create biodegradable wound dressings in remote and mobile locations, without a bulky and high-voltage unit,” Bidhar said.

    Electrospun targets, like Bidhar’s power supply, could innovate the future of particle physics accelerators, allowing experiments such as DUNE to reach higher levels of beam intensity. These higher intensity beams will aid scientists in solving the enduring mysteries of astrophysics, nuclear physics and particle physics.

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    U Chicago Campus

    An intellectual destination

    One of the world’s premier academic and research institutions, the University of Chicago has driven new ways of thinking since our 1890 founding. Today, UChicago is an intellectual destination that draws inspired scholars to our Hyde Park and international campuses, keeping UChicago at the nexus of ideas that challenge and change the world.

    The University of Chicago is an urban research university that has driven new ways of thinking since 1890. Our commitment to free and open inquiry draws inspired scholars to our global campuses, where ideas are born that challenge and change the world.

    We empower individuals to challenge conventional thinking in pursuit of original ideas. Students in the College develop critical, analytic, and writing skills in our rigorous, interdisciplinary core curriculum. Through graduate programs, students test their ideas with UChicago scholars, and become the next generation of leaders in academia, industry, nonprofits, and government.

    UChicago research has led to such breakthroughs as discovering the link between cancer and genetics, establishing revolutionary theories of economics, and developing tools to produce reliably excellent urban schooling. We generate new insights for the benefit of present and future generations with our national and affiliated laboratories: Argonne National Laboratory, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, and the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.

    The University of Chicago is enriched by the city we call home. In partnership with our neighbors, we invest in Chicago’s mid-South Side across such areas as health, education, economic growth, and the arts. Together with our medical center, we are the largest private employer on the South Side.

    In all we do, we are driven to dig deeper, push further, and ask bigger questions—and to leverage our knowledge to enrich all human life. Our diverse and creative students and alumni drive innovation, lead international conversations, and make masterpieces. Alumni and faculty, lecturers and postdocs go on to become Nobel laureates, CEOs, university presidents, attorneys general, literary giants, and astronauts.

     
  • richardmitnick 1:33 pm on May 9, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Chicago Quantum Exchange and IBM Q Network partner to advance quantum computing", UChicago   

    From University of Chicago: “Chicago Quantum Exchange, IBM Q Network partner to advance quantum computing” 

    U Chicago bloc

    From University of Chicago

    Apr 26, 2019
    Diana Anderson

    1
    Graduate student trainees work with Prof. David Awschalom, director of the Chicago Quantum Exchange and a senior scientist at Argonne, in his University of Chicago laboratory. Photo by Jean Lachat

    Collaboration to accelerate joint research and help train tomorrow’s quantum engineers.

    The Chicago Quantum Exchange, a growing intellectual hub for the research and development of quantum technology, will join forces with the IBM Q Network to provide leaps forward in electronics, computers, sensors and “unhackable” networks.

    CQE member institutions will work with IBM Q scientists and engineers through IBM Q’s academic partner program to explore the field of quantum computing, including investigations into materials, fabrication techniques, algorithms, and software and hardware development. A critical component of the partnership will be to enhance efforts to train tomorrow’s quantum workforce; the IBM Q Network will fund up to five positions for postdoctoral researchers to work closely with scientists across the CQE to advance quantum computing.

    The Chicago Quantum Exchange is anchored at the University of Chicago. Member institutions include the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The combined resources of the member institutions create a powerful hub of more than 100 scientists and engineers—among the world’s largest collaborative teams for quantum research.

    CQE researchers are developing hardware and software for a new generation of quantum computers, synthesizing and characterizing new materials with quantum properties, and probing the ways in which quantum computing and information processing can provide insights into dark matter and black holes.

    “Collaborating with IBM’s scientists and engineers will accelerate progress in the field of quantum information,” said David Awschalom, director of the CQE, the Liew Family Professor of Molecular Engineering at UChicago and a senior scientist at Argonne. “This rapidly developing field requires working across different academic disciplines and developing projects beyond institutional boundaries. Partnering with IBM Q will help us drive a broad range of joint activities and help train a new workforce of quantum scientists and engineers.”

    2
    Fred Chong, the Seymour Goodman Professor of Computer Science at UChicago and an Argonne senior scientist, works with his postdoctoral students outside of his office. Photo by Jean Lachat.

    The collaboration with IBM Q includes projects with Awschalom and other UChicago researchers to develop quantum machine architectures and applications, ranging from quantum communication interfaces to new types of qubits—the basic unit of quantum information. Prof. Fred Chong and his UChicago research team will deepen their existing collaboration with IBM Q to develop quantum software. Chong, the Seymour Goodman Professor of Computer Science and an Argonne senior scientist, is the lead investigator for the Enabling Practical-Scale Quantum Computing (EPiQC) project, a multi-institutional effort funded by the National Science Foundation’s Expeditions in Computing Program, which works to bring quantum computing within reach by co-developing new algorithms, software, and hardware, including optimizations for IBM’s superconducting quantum technology.

    The partnership builds on existing collaborations between CQE member institutions and IBM Q, the company’s quantum division. This includes the participation of Argonne and Fermilab in the IBM Q Network, the world’s first community of Fortune 500 companies, startups, academic institutions and research labs working with IBM to advance quantum computing and explore practical applications for business and science. The two labs partner with the IBM Q Hub at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

    Building the nation’s future quantum workforce

    In addition to accelerating discovery and innovation in the rapidly developing areas of quantum technology, the CQE aims to build the nation’s workforce in emerging quantum fields.

    “The CQE institutions, including the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, have identified quantum information science as a key strategic area, and we are committed to providing research and education opportunities for our students and postdocs to train them to contribute to this exciting and important field. This partnership and investment from IBM Q will help us in that mission,” said Dale Van Harlingen, professor of physics and the associate executive director of the Illinois Quantum Information Science and Technology center at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

    Through the CQE, IBM Q will provide funding for up to five postdoctoral positions over five years to investigate some of the most profound scientific and technological challenges in quantum information science. These postdoctoral researchers will research quantum computing, quantum communication, quantum sensing and quantum algorithms.

    “As the field of quantum information continues to expand, so will the demand for quantum engineers in industry, government and at universities,” said President Robert J. Zimmer. “Increasing our collaboration with IBM Q and other partners in the Chicago Quantum Exchange will allow our trainees, faculty and their colleagues to contribute to important work in applied science and engineering with strong potential to benefit society.”

    The postdocs will have access to all member institutions, including a wide breadth of tools and capabilities that make investigation of cutting-edge quantum science and technology possible.

    The postdocs will work at member institutions that support their individual areas of research and will receive dual mentorship at both the institution where they are placed and another member institution or IBM Q. Individuals interested in applying for a postdoc position at the CQE can access the application on the CQE website.

    The CQE is further developing a national workforce of quantum scientists and engineers through the Quantum Information Science and Engineering Network (QISE-Net), a program supported by the National Science Foundation and in partnership with Harvard University. QISE-Net enables students to conduct their doctoral research jointly with industry or a national laboratory, translating ideas into research results.

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    U Chicago Campus

    An intellectual destination

    One of the world’s premier academic and research institutions, the University of Chicago has driven new ways of thinking since our 1890 founding. Today, UChicago is an intellectual destination that draws inspired scholars to our Hyde Park and international campuses, keeping UChicago at the nexus of ideas that challenge and change the world.

    The University of Chicago is an urban research university that has driven new ways of thinking since 1890. Our commitment to free and open inquiry draws inspired scholars to our global campuses, where ideas are born that challenge and change the world.

    We empower individuals to challenge conventional thinking in pursuit of original ideas. Students in the College develop critical, analytic, and writing skills in our rigorous, interdisciplinary core curriculum. Through graduate programs, students test their ideas with UChicago scholars, and become the next generation of leaders in academia, industry, nonprofits, and government.

    UChicago research has led to such breakthroughs as discovering the link between cancer and genetics, establishing revolutionary theories of economics, and developing tools to produce reliably excellent urban schooling. We generate new insights for the benefit of present and future generations with our national and affiliated laboratories: Argonne National Laboratory, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, and the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.

    The University of Chicago is enriched by the city we call home. In partnership with our neighbors, we invest in Chicago’s mid-South Side across such areas as health, education, economic growth, and the arts. Together with our medical center, we are the largest private employer on the South Side.

    In all we do, we are driven to dig deeper, push further, and ask bigger questions—and to leverage our knowledge to enrich all human life. Our diverse and creative students and alumni drive innovation, lead international conversations, and make masterpieces. Alumni and faculty, lecturers and postdocs go on to become Nobel laureates, CEOs, university presidents, attorneys general, literary giants, and astronauts.

     
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