Astroseminar Series - Michelle Lochner - ZOOM

Wednesday, March 6, 2024 11:30 am - 12:30 pm EST (GMT -05:00)
Michelle Lochner

Born in South Africa with a PhD from the University of Cape Town, Dr. Michelle Lochner is a Senior Lecturer with a joint position between the University of the Western Cape and the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (formerly SKA South Africa). Her focus is on cosmology and trying to get the best out of combining optical and radio telescopes like the Vera C. Rubin Observatory, in Chile, as well as the Square Kilometre Array and its precursor, MeerKAT, in South Africa. She works on developing new statistical techniques and machine learning techniques to tackle the masses of data we are dealing with in astronomy, currently focusing on the use of anomaly detection for scientific discovery. She is also the founder and director of an international mentoring programme for women and gender minorities in physics called the Supernova Foundation.

Title: Enabling New Discoveries with Machine Learning

Abstract: The next generation of telescopes such as the SKA and the Vera C. Rubin Observatory will produce enormous data sets, far too large for traditional analysis techniques. Machine learning has proven invaluable in handling massive data volumes and automating many tasks traditionally done by human scientists. In this talk, I will explore the use of machine learning for automating the discovery and follow-up of interesting astronomical phenomena. I will share an exciting recent MeerKAT discovery made with machine learning and discuss how the human-machine interface will play a critical role in maximising scientific discovery with automated tools.