Here's how Google AI helped NASA discover two exoplanets | WeForNews | Latest News, Blogs Here’s how Google AI helped NASA discover two exoplanets – WeForNews | Latest News, Blogs
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Washington, Dec 15: The Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) approach from Google researchers helped NASA discover two exoplanets, including an eighth planet around the star Kepler-90.

With an eighth planet circling Kepler-90, our solar system now is tied for most number of planets around a single star, NASA and Google said in a statement late on Thursday.

Kepler-90 is a Sun-like star which is 2,545 light-years from Earth.

The Google AI found exoplanets using data from NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope.

In this case, computers learned to identify planets by finding in Kepler data instances where the telescope recorded signals from planets beyond our solar system, known as exoplanets.

The discovery came after researchers Christopher Shallue and Andrew Vanderburg trained a computer to learn how to identify exoplanets in the light readings recorded by Kepler — the minuscule change in brightness captured when a planet passed in front of, or transited, a star.

Inspired by the way neurons connect in the human brain, this artificial “neural network” sifted through Kepler data and found weak transit signals from a previously-missed eighth planet orbiting Kepler-90, in the constellation Draco.

While machine learning has previously been used in searches of the Kepler database, this research demonstrates that neural networks are a promising tool in finding some of the weakest signals of distant worlds.

Shallue, a senior software engineer with Google AI research team, came up with the idea to apply a neural network to Kepler data.

“In my spare time, I started googling for ‘finding exoplanets with large data sets’ and found out about the Kepler mission and the huge data set available,” said Shallue.

First, the researchers trained the neural network to identify transiting exoplanets using a set of 15,000 previously-vetted signals from the Kepler exoplanet catalogue.

In the test set, the neural network correctly identified true planets and false positives 96 per cent of the time.

Then, with the neural network having “learned” to detect the pattern of a transiting exoplanet, the researchers directed their model to search for weaker signals in 670 star systems that already had multiple known planets.

Their assumption was that multiple-planet systems would be the best places to look for more exoplanets.

“We got lots of false positives of planets, but also potentially more real planets,” said Vanderburg.

“It’s like sifting through rocks to find jewels. If you have a finer sieve then you will catch more rocks but you might catch more jewels, as well.”

Kepler-90i wasn’t the only jewel this neural network sifted out. In the Kepler-80 system, they also found a sixth planet.

This one, the Earth-sized Kepler-80g, and four of its neighbouring planets form what is called a resonant chain – where planets are locked by their mutual gravity in a rhythmic orbital dance.

The result is an extremely stable system, similar to the seven planets in the TRAPPIST-1 system.

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Bangladesh might extend shutdown of office

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New Delhi : Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday signalled that the shutdown of offices and workplaces due to the coronavirus pandemic may be extended to April 9.

Hasina made the remark while handing out instructions on the prevention of the novel coronavirus outbreak to field-level officers across Bangladesh via video-conference from her official residence here, reports bdnews24.

“We had declared a 10-day holiday. But it might be extended by a few more days,” Hasina said. Bangladesh announced the closure of all government and private offices and courts from March 26 to April 4 amid mounting fears.
However, the government said the shutdown would not affect emergency services such as hospitals and the fire service.

Public transport would also operate on a limited scale during the holidays, it added. On Monday, the government’s disease control agency has confirmed one more case of the coronavirus infection, taking the total number of infections to 49, bdnews24 reported. The overall death toll stood at five, the agency added.


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Japan to ban entry to people from 73 countries

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Tokyo, March 31 (IANS) Japan said Tuesday that it would ban people from more than a third of the world, including the US, from entering the country to halt the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The US is among a list of 73 countries to which the Japanese government also discouraged travel amid the steep global increase in the number of COVID-19 infections and fatalities, reports Efe news.

Japan raised its travel alert to Level 3 (out of a possible 4), over which it advised against travelling to certain territories under any circumstances.

The alert was extended on Tuesday to 49 countries, including the US, Canada, South Korea, China, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, Chile, Panama, Brazil, Bolivia, the UK and Greece, from which Japan will prohibit the entry to travelers who aren’t Japanese, Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said at a press conference.

Motegi did not specify when the entry veto would take effect.

In this way, Japan will increase to 73 the countries to which it urges not to travel – more than a third of the world – among which are Spain, Italy, Germany, France, Australia and Iran.

Citizens who have travelled to these countries in the last 14 days are all subject to entry restrictions.

Travel alerts to the rest of the world was maintained at alert Level 2 (which discourages non-essential or unurgent trips).

Japan’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement it would follow the evolution of the spread of COVID-19 and said it does not rule out implementing more border restrictions.

The Japanese government has so far reported 2,665 new coronavirus infections and 67 deaths in the country, including 712 cases and 11 deaths linked to the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

Japan has experienced an increase in cases detected both in the country and its airports, with more than 10 daily infections identified at the country’s airports for more than a week.

On Monday, 51 of the total 87 cases Japan detected were at airports.


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COVID-19 cases in Italy exceed 100,000; over 11,000 deaths

By topping 100,000, Italy reported the second most cumulative number of coronavirus cases in the world, just after the United States, and was followed by Spain and China.

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Rome, March 31 : The coronavirus pandemic claimed 11,591 lives in locked-down Italy up to Monday, as the cumulative number of cases reached 101,739, according to the latest data by the Civil Protection Department managing the national emergency response.

The country also registered the highest daily increase in the number of COVID-19 patients recovered at 1,590, Xinhua news agency reported on Monday.

The death of 812 COVID-19 patients was registered on a daily basis, compared to 756 in the previous 24 hours, Civil Protection Department chief and extraordinary commissioner Angelo Borrelli told a press conference.

The number of active infections rose by 1,648 against the previous day, reaching 75,528. Of those, some 3,981 people were currently in intensive care, and 27,795 were hospitalized in normal wards.

“The majority of people who have tested positive — namely 43,752 or about 58 percent (of positive) — are isolated at home, because asymptomatic or with light symptoms,” Borrelli said.

The official also highlighted the positive trend in recoveries, which grew by 1,590 cases in 24 hours to 14,620 by Monday.

“This is the highest daily increase of recoveries registered since the coronavirus has started spreading across our country, and the emergency began,” the Borrelli stressed.

By topping 100,000, Italy reported the second most cumulative number of coronavirus cases in the world, just after the United States, and was followed by Spain and China.

At geographical level, the most affected regions by the pandemic remained Lombardy (25,006 active cases), Emilia Romagna (10,766), Veneto (7,564), and Piedmont (7,655), all of them in northern Italy.

However, the worst-hit Lombardy seemed to be seeing a timid light at the end of the tunnel, according to local authorities.

“The increase in the number of infections keeps slowing down … with 1,154 new positive cases compared to yesterday, when we had 1,592 more cases,” Lombardy’s Welfare Councillor Giulio Gallera told a press conference broadcast live on social media and TV networks from Milan.

Lombardy’s death toll remained very high (6,818), with a daily increase of 458 fatalities, higher than 416 a day earlier, according to Gallera.

Top health authorities confirmed a slowdown in the contagion there. “In Lombardy — and especially in the worst-hit areas of Lodi and Bergamo — the number of infectious respiratory events for which regional emergency vehicles have been called is markedly reduced,” Higher Health Council (CSS) president Franco Locatelli told the press conference alongside Borrelli.

“Interventions (deploy of emergency vehicles ) on the territory have halved compared to March 14-15,” Locatelli said, adding that the country was moving “in the right direction.”

“We must not change our strategy, absolutely. The return to normality will be a gradual process … the goal is to contain the situation now, and prevent further hotbeds,” he stressed.

Looking at health workers on the frontline of the emergency, some 63 doctors were among those who have died due to the infection — of which at least 11 over the last 24 hours — the National Federation of the Orders of Doctors and Dentists (FNOMCeO) said on Monday.

In addition, 8,358 health professionals (comprising doctors, nurses, and other sector workers) were among those who tested positive, according to the latest available statistics by the National Health Institute (ISS) updated to March 29.

Nicola Zingaretti, the leader of the country’s main Democratic Party, said on Monday that he is cured from the coronavirus, more than three weeks after he became the country’s first high-profile politician contracting the coronavirus.

On the political side of the crisis, meanwhile, the central government’s latest step to help local authorities face the economic impact of the emergency met with a mixed response.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte’s cabinet late on Saturday had announced it would allocate some 400 million euros (440 million U.S. dollars) to municipalities in order to provide food coupons to households struggling to buy basic goods in these weeks.

This is because many poor and low-income families across the locked-down country have remained without a source of income while the halt imposed to all non-essential economic activities continues.

The amount, however, was deemed limited by the National Association of Italian Municipalities (ANCI) on Monday.

ANCI vice-president Roberto Pella further explained the financial provision was indeed welcomed, but it could “suffice up to mid-April.”

“It is necessary to think about the months that lie ahead, and the amount of 1 billion (euros) could be an effective first response to the (needs of) 8,000 Italian municipalities,” all-news TV channel SKY TG24 quoted Pella as saying.

At 12 a.m. on Tuesday, on the initiative of the ANCI, Italian mayors will put all flags at half-mast and municipalities will observe one and a half minutes of silence as a sign of national solidarity.

Private citizens and firms have so far donated 63.8 million euros (70.2 million U.S. dollars) to a special bank account opened by the Civil Protection Department and devoted specifically to the emergency.

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