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Colloquium with Renée Hložek and Ting Li

Can astronomical methods help detect signs of neurodegeneration? – by Prof. Renée Hložek

Structures in the brain look like structures in the sky: the natural world contains self-similarity that can be exploited to allow for learning across disciplines. While imaging data in the two fields come from very different origins, their structure and properties show remarkable similarity. By combining detection algorithms and citizen science techniques used to detect and classify faint stars and galaxies in astronomy to multi-scale optical brain imaging, we will pioneer early detection techniques in neurodegeneration. I will outline our initial efforts in scene modelling, segmentation and transient detection of images of a mouse model as part of a recently funded partnership with colleagues at the University of Laval. This is just the beginning: exploiting these novel data sets to decipher this complex problem will yield advances in terms of representation learning within machine learning in order to transfer learning across these disparate data structures.

The Southern Stellar Stream Spectroscopic Survey (S5) – by Prof. Ting Li
S5 is an ongoing spectroscopic program that maps the newly discovered stellar streams with the fiber-fed AAOmega spectrograph on the Anglo-Australian Telescope (AAT). S5 is the first systematic program pursuing a complete census of known streams in the Southern Hemisphere, providing a uniquely powerful sample for understanding the building blocks of the Milky Way’s stellar halo, the progenitors and formation of stellar streams, the mass and shape of the Milky Way’s halo, and ultimately the nature of dark matter. The survey started in Summer 2018 and has mapped ~20 streams with over 50 nights on AAT, collecting around ~ 100k stellar spectra.  In this talk I will highlight the latest results with one dozen stellar streams observed by S5 in 2018-2020.

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Renée Hložek and Ting Li, University of Toronto

September 22, 2021
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm