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'AI helps track down mysterious cosmic signals', Pixabay

Scientists say they have used artificial intelligence (AI) to discover 72 new fast radio bursts from a mysterious source about three billion light years away from Earth.

The initiative may advance the search to find signs of intelligent life in the universe, said researchers from the University of California, Berkeley in the US.


Fast radio bursts are bright pulses of radio emission mere milliseconds in duration, thought to originate from distant galaxies.

However, the source of these emissions is still unclear, according to the research published in The Astrophysical Journal.

Theories range from highly magnetised neutron stars blasted by gas streams from a nearby supermassive black hole, to suggestions that the burst properties are consistent with signatures of technology developed by an advanced civilization.


While most fast radio bursts are one-offs, the source here, FRB 121102, is unique in emitting repeated bursts. Wikimedia Commons

“This work is exciting not just because it helps us understand the dynamic behaviour of fast radio bursts in more detail, but also because of the promise it shows for using machine learning to detect signals missed by classical algorithms,” said Andrew Siemion from the University of California – Berkele.

Researchers are also applying the successful machine-learning algorithm to find new kinds of signals that could be coming from extraterrestrial civilisations.

While most fast radio bursts are one-offs, the source here, FRB 121102, is unique in emitting repeated bursts.

This behaviour has drawn the attention of many astronomers hoping to pin down the cause and the extreme physics involved in fast radio bursts.

The AI algorithms dredged up the radio signals from data were recorded over a five-hour period in 2017, by the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia in the US.


The researchers developed the new, powerful machine-learning algorithm and reanalysed the 2017 data, finding an additional 72 bursts not detected originally. (IANS)

An earlier analysis of the 400 terabytes of data employed standard computer algorithms to identify 21 bursts during that period.

“All were seen within one hour, suggesting that the source alternates between periods of quiescence and frenzied activity,” said Berkeley postdoctoral researcher Vishal Gajjar.

Also Read: HCL Launches AI Based ‘HCL Turbo’

The researchers developed the new, powerful machine-learning algorithm and reanalysed the 2017 data, finding an additional 72 bursts not detected originally.

This brings the total number of detected bursts from FRB 121102 to around 300 since it was discovered in 2012, researchers said. (IANS)


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The aim of the book is to teach children that families can exist in different forms, and show them how to accept the diversity in family backgrounds.

By Siddhi Jain

Delhi-based author Pritisha Borthakur is set to release her new book, 'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories'. The 1,404-word children's book was put together to address a new kind of societal debacle in the family system. The author says the aim is to teach children that families can exist in different forms, and show them how to accept the diversity in family backgrounds.

The author who named the book after her twin sons -- Puhor and Niyor -- is a parent who has seen and heard the tales of ridicule and discrimination suffered by many in India and beyond. She says the book is an artistic illustration for kids that details how different families can live and coexist. Whether it's children with two dads or two moms, children with a single dad or single mom, and even multiracial family units, Borthakur's book teaches love, understanding, and compassion towards unconventional families.

Beyond race, gender, color, and ethnicity which have formed the bases for discrimination since the beginning of time, this book aims to bring to light a largely ignored issue. For so long, single parents have been treated like a taboo without any attempt to understand their situations; no one really cares how or why one's marriage ended but just wants to treat single parents as villains simply for choosing happiness and loving their children.

Homosexual parents, a relatively new family system, is another form that has suffered hate and discrimination for many years. Pritisha emphasizes the need to understand that diversity in people and family is what makes the world beautiful and colourful. 'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories' is a firm but compassionate statement against all forms of discrimination on the bases of sexual identity, gender, race, and even differences in background

four children standing on dirt during daytime 'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories' is a firm but compassionate statement against all forms of discrimination on the bases of sexual identity, gender, race and even differences in background. | Photo by Ben Wicks on Unsplash


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