February 10, 2022 – Indian astronomers have devised an AI-based algorithm to identify potentially habitable planets.

They have also gone an extra step and have identified sixty such planets using this method.

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Source: ANI

Astronomers from the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) and their counterparts from the BITS Pilani Goa campus had formulated an AI-based algorithm that detects anomalies.

“The method is based on the postulate that Earth is an anomaly, with the possibility of the existence of few other anomalies among thousands of data points. There are 60 potentially habitable planets out of about 5000 confirmed, and nearly 8000 candidate planets proposed. The assessment is based on their close similarity to Earth. These planets can be viewed as candidates for anomalous instances in a huge pool of `non-habitable’ exoplanets,” the Ministry of Science and Technology stated.

Dr. Snehanshu Saha of BITS Pilani explained the thought process behind the anomaly detection algorithm.

“Among thousands of planets, Earth being a habitable planet is Earth being the only habitable planet among thousands of planets is defined as an anomaly. We explored whether similar ‘anomaly candidates can be found using novel anomaly detection methods,” he said.

The team said that the idea behind using anomaly detection was a well-known technique being used in Industries for predictive maintenance of machinery. But with many exoplanets being discovered, finding the strange planet would be difficult when done manually.

The tedious manual job can be transformed into a relatively easy one using Artificial Intelligence.

The AI-Based algorithm, named Multi-Stage Memetic Binary Tree Anomaly Identifier (MSMBTAI), uses an MSMA (Multi-Stage Memetic Algorithm) to transfer the knowledge gained in one iteration to the next iteration.

The researchers have developed the AI-based algorithm and extended it to an unsupervised clustering algorithm to identify the anomaly clusters.

The researchers say that the proposed technique has shown reasonably good results.

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