Astronomy ML talk: March 6, 2019 at 1:30pm in ISB 102

All are welcome to a talk by PhD student Daniel Muthukrishna of Cambridge University 

Real-time classification of explosive transients using deep recurrent neural networks

We present RAPID (Real-time Automated Photometric IDentification), a novel time-series classification tool capable of automatically identifying transients from within a day of the initial alert, to the full lifetime of a light curve. Using a deep recurrent neural network with Gated Recurrent Units (GRUs), we present the first method specifically designed to provide early classifications of astronomical time-series data, typing 12 different transient classes. Our classifier can process light curves with any phase coverage, and it does not rely on deriving computationally expensive features from the data, making RAPID well-suited for processing the millions of alerts that ongoing and upcoming wide-field surveys such as the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF), and the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) will produce. The classification accuracy improves over the lifetime of the transient as more photometric data becomes available, and across the 12 transient classes. We have begun running RAPID on the real-time ZTF survey, and have successfully classified several transients well before peak luminosity. We have made RAPID available as an open-source software package ( for machine learning-based alert-brokers to use for the autonomous and quick classification of several thousand light curves within a few seconds.