Enabling real-time multi-messenger astrophysics discoveries with deep learning

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Multi-messenger astrophysics is a fast-growing, interdisciplinary field that combines data, which vary in volume and speed of data processing, from many different instruments that probe the Universe using different cosmic messengers: electromagnetic waves, cosmic rays, gravitational waves and neutrinos. In this Expert Recommendation, we review the key challenges of real-time observations of gravitational wave sources and their electromagnetic and astroparticle counterparts, and make a number of recommendations to maximize their potential for scientific discovery. These recommendations refer to the design of scalable and computationally efficient machine learning algorithms; the cyber-infrastructure to numerically simulate astrophysical sources, and to process and interpret multi-messenger astrophysics data; the management of gravitational wave detections to trigger real-time alerts for electromagnetic and astroparticle follow-ups; a vision to harness future developments of machine learning and cyber-infrastructure resources to cope with the big-data requirements; and the need to build a community of experts to realize the goals of multi-messenger astrophysics.

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Fig. 1: Visualization of the results of a numerical relativity simulation of two neutron stars before and after a merger.


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The authors gratefully acknowledge support from NVIDIA, Argonne Leadership Computing Facility, Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility, and the National Science Foundation through grant NSF-1848815. Artwork in this manuscript was supported in part by the National Science Foundation through grants ACI-1238993, NSF-1550514 and TG-PHY160053.

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E.A.H. led and coordinated the writing of this Expert Recommendation. All authors contributed to developing the ideas, and writing and reviewing this manuscript. S.R. produced the artwork in figure 1.

Correspondence to E. A. Huerta.

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Nature Reviews Physics thanks Brant Robertson, Viviana Acquaviva and the other, anonymous, reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

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