My project, under Prof. Karl Glazebrook and computer vision expert Dr Chris McCarthy from the School of Software and Electrical Engineering, is investigating the application of modern machine learning techniques to astronomical data. As new telescopes and surveys such as DES, LSST and the SKA get up and running they will generate staggering amounts of data. Mining such large imaging databases for their scientific potential is a complex task that will require sophisticated automation. For instance, while we know of several hundred examples of strong gravitational lenses, tens of thousands are likely to be hiding amongst the data collected by these surveys. For my PhD project I am looking at the particular problem of teaching a computer to automatically identify galaxy-galaxy lens candidates using convolutional neural networks. If successful, astronomers will be able to use those lenses to probe the nature and distribution of dark matter and the shape and history of our universe.
I have a BSc with Honours in Astrophysics and a BA in history from Monash University. Since graduating I spent six years in the San Francisco Bay Area working in various startups, then running my own business back in Australia. In the intervening years I have also spent short amounts of time living in Aachen, Germany and Shanghai, China. Most recently, I spent several years working in the federal parliament.
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