summary: The Ariel 2023 Data Challenge invites experts in artificial intelligence and machine learning to help collect data on exoplanets.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) experts have been challenged to assist in a new space mission to explore Earth’s place in the universe.
The Ariel 2023 Data Challenge, which kicks off April 14, invites artificial intelligence and machine learning experts from industry and academia to help astronomers understand planets outside our solar system, known as exoplanets.
Dr Ingo Waldman, Associate Professor of Astrophysics, UCL (University College London) and Ariel Data Challenge Leader said:
Artificial intelligence has revolutionized many areas of science and industry in the past years. The exoplanet field has fully arrived in the age of big data, and the latest AI technologies are needed to break some of the biggest bottlenecks holding us back.”
Understanding our place in the universe
For centuries, astronomers could only glimpse planets in our solar system, but in recent years, thanks to telescopes in space, they’ve discovered more than 5,000 planets orbiting other stars in our galaxy.
The European Space Agency’s Ariel telescope will complete one of the largest ever surveys of these planets by observing the atmospheres of about a fifth of known exoplanets.
Given the large number of planets in this survey, and the expected complexity of the observations captured, Ariel mission scientists are calling for the assistance of the machine learning and artificial intelligence community to help interpret the data.
Ariel Data Challenge
Ariel will study the light from each exoplanet’s host star after it travels through the planet’s atmosphere in what is known as a spectrum. Information from these spectra can help scientists investigate the chemical composition of the planet’s atmosphere and discover more about these planets and how they formed.
Scientists involved in the Ariel mission need a new way to interpret this data. Advanced machine learning techniques can help them understand the impact of different atmospheric phenomena on the observed spectrum.
The Ariel Data Challenge invites the AI community to research solutions. The competition is open from April 14 to June 18, 2023.
Participants are free to use any model, algorithm, data preprocessing technology or other tools to provide a solution. They can submit as many solutions as they like and collaboration between teams is welcomed.
This year, the competition also provides participants with access to high-power computing resources through DiRAC, part of the UK’s Science and Technology Facilities Council computing facilities.
Kai Hou (Gordon) Yip, UCL Postdoctoral Research Fellow and Ariel Data Challenge Lead, said:
“With the arrival of next-generation instruments, astronomers are struggling to keep up with the complexity and volume of incoming exoplanet data. The ECML-PKDD 2023 Data Challenge provides an excellent platform to facilitate interdisciplinary solutions with AI experts.”
Winners will be invited to present their solutions at the prestigious ECML Conference. The top three winning teams will receive tickets sponsored by ECML-PKDD in Turing or equivalent.
Winners will also be invited to present their solutions to the Ariel Consortium.
The competition is supported by the UK Space Agency, the National Center for Space Studies (CNES), the European Research Council, the UK Science and Technology Funding Council (STFC), the European Space Agency and the Europlanet Society.
For the first time, DiRAC provides free access to GPU computing resources to selected participants. The application is open to all.
This is the fourth Ariel Machine Learning Data Challenge after successful competitions in 2019, 2021 and 2022. The 2022 Challenge welcomed 230 participating teams from around the world, including participants from leading academic institutes and AI companies.
This challenge and its predecessor took one small side of a larger problem to help make exoplanet research more accessible to the machine learning community. These challenges are not designed to directly solve data analysis problems faced by the mission but provide a forum for new ideas and discussions and to encourage future collaboration.
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author: Anita Hayward
communication: Anita Hayward – Europlanet
picture: The image is in the public domain
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