Dark Matter Swallows Black Holes; Tsunami Alarm; AI Artist Extraordinaire

27th May, 2016 by
This week 100TB brings you the highlights from the world of science and technology: is a dark matter a black hole in disguise?; the tsunami algorithm that will eventually save lives; can artificial intelligence be an artist?

Dark Matter: A Black Hole in Disguise?

Dark matter has been making many appearances in the news lately and so have black holes. But now both are appearing in the news together thanks to the recent experiments at LIGO and the detection of gravitational waves.

The mainstream theory of the nature of dark matter is that, just like regular matter, it consists of particles. However, no such “dark matter” building blocks have ever been detected.

A new theory has emerged that dark matter might be made up of black holes! Both entities are massive mysteries in the world of physics so it would be befitting that one consists of the other. The black holes in question are primordial: these are black holes which were formed in the first fractions of a second after the birth of the universe. Funnily enough, this somewhat crazy theory seems to coincide with observation. This would mean we are literally swimming in a sea of black holes.

The dark matter-black hole theory emerged from NASA’s “knowledge of cosmic infrared and X-ray background glows and may explain the unexpectedly high masses of merging black holes detected last year.”

Alexander Kashlinsky, an astrophysicist at NASA Goddard, compared the cosmic X-ray background of a section of the sky to the cosmic infrared background of the same section, to conclude that a strange pattern of patchiness was visible in both spectra. Kashlinsky summarizes: “The only object we know of that can be sufficiently luminous across this wide an energy range is a black hole. The research team concluded that primordial black holes must have been abundant among the earliest stars, making up at least about one out of every five of the sources contributing to the CIB.” NASA is conducting more experiments to investigate whether a theory of dark matter consisting of these primordial black holes is consistent.

100TB, Friday News Roundup, The Tsunami Algorithm

The Tsunami Algorithm

Jan Dettmer and his team of seismologists at the Australian National University have created an algorithm based warning system to predict future tsunamis once the initial earthquake takes place.

The Time Reverse Imaging Method algorithm was based on the information that was recorded by sensors on the floor of the Pacific Ocean when the Tohoku-Oki earthquake and the following tsunami took place. The data allowed Dettmer to extrapolate back in time, calculating what the tsunami looked like at its start. The initial conditions of the sea surface displacements combined with the sensor data allowed the algorithm to calculate the evolution of the wave and its final state before hitting land.

By comparing calculation with real-life results, Dettmer was able to fine-tune his algorithm. By repeating this process for many more historical recorded earthquakes and the following Tsunamis, Dettmer and his team hope to create a warning system that once the earthquake strikes there will be several minutes of precious time to create a warning and save lives.

100TB, Friday News Roundup, Can Artificial Intelligence Be an Artist?

Can Artificial Intelligence Be an Artist?

Google Brain has announced its latest project in AI named“Magenta”, a quest seeking to answer a simple question: can a computer create art?

Douglas Eck from Google summarizes the project: “The question Magenta asks is, ‘Can machines make music and art? If so, how? If not, why not?’,” he said. “The goal of Magenta is to produce open-source tools and models that help creative people be even more creative. I’m primarily looking at how to use so-called ‘generative’ machine learning models to create engaging media.”

This is not the first attempt at AI creating art. A team in Germany and a British artist have independently used algorithms to create either copy of famous art through pattern combinations or creation of abstract art.

One aspect however which evades quantification is the initial creative thought-the essence behind the artwork. Can a machine receive that?

Wishing you an inspired weekend!

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