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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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Indian wrestler Ravi Kumar (57kg) and Deepak Punia (86kg) enjoyed fruitful outings at the Tokyo Olympic Games as they secured semifinal berths in their respective weight categories at the Makuhari Messe on Wednesday.

On the opening day of the wrestling competition, Ravi Kumar defeated Bulgaria's Georgi Vangelov 14-4 on technical superiority to reach the last-four in the men's 57kg category, while compatriot Deepak Punia overcame China's Zushen Lin 6-3 on points to advance to the semifinals.

Ravi Kumar will take on Nurislam Sanayev of Kazakhstan in the last-four, while Punia will be up against David Morris Taylor of the USA.

Earlier, Ravi Kumar had won his opening-round bout by technical superiority against Colombia's Oscar Tigreros to secure a quarterfinal spot. Competing in the Round-of-16 bout against the Colombian wrestler, the 23-year-old Ravi Kumar, who is making his Olympic debut, showed no nerves as he dominated the bout to win by technical superiority (13-2).

Ravi Kumar landed attack after attack and went 13-2 up, winning the bout by technical superiority with minutes to spare. In wrestling, building up a 10-point lead over the opponent results in a victory by technical superiority.

India's 86kg freestyle wrestler Deepak Punia showed no signs of the niggle that had forced him to pull out of the Poland Open Ranking Series in Warsaw in June, as he defeated Nigeria's Ekerekeme Agiomor on technical superiority to secure a quarterfinal berth.

He got his Olympic campaign to a fine start as he was in control from the start of the bout and hardly ever allowed his Nigerian opponent any room to maneuver his moves, finally winning with a 12-1 on technical superiority.

Punia, who had also suffered an elbow injury just before the Games, was slow at the start but came into his own as the bout progressed, inflicting takedowns at regular intervals to earn points.

The Indian wrestler eased into a 4-1 lead at the break and extended his lead comfortably in the second period.

Punia, the silver medallist from the 2019 world wrestling championships, then set up a clash with China's Lin Zushen in the quarterfinals and defeated him 6-3.

(IANS/HP)