Physics ∩ ML

a virtual hub at the interface of theoretical physics and deep learning.

20 Oct 2021

Machine Learning Application for the Event Horizon Telescope

Joshua Yao-Yu Lin, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 12:00 ET

Abstract:
The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) recently released the first horizon-scale images of the black hole in M87. Combined with other astronomical data, these images constrain the mass and spin of the hole as well as the accretion rate and magnetic flux trapped on the hole. An important question for EHT is how well key parameters such as spin and trapped magnetic flux can be extracted from present and future EHT data alone. In the first half of the talk, we explore parameter extraction using a neural network trained on high-resolution synthetic images drawn from state-of-the-art simulations. We find that the neural network is able to recover spin and flux with high accuracy. We are particularly interested in interpreting the neural network output and understanding which features are used to identify, e.g., black hole spin. Using feature maps, we find that the network keys on low surface brightness feature in particular. In the second half of the talk, I will also mention an ongoing project VLBInet, in which we propose a data-driven approach to analyze complex visibilities and closure quantities for radio interferometric data with neural networks. Using mock interferometric data, we show that our neural networks are able to infer the accretion state as either high magnetic flux (MAD) or low magnetic flux (SANE), suggesting that it is possible to perform parameter extraction directly in the visibility domain without image reconstruction.

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