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Other Merging Astrophysics and Computer Science

  1. Sep 8, 2017 #1
    I am currently a student studying for my degree and I'm 18. My question is that is it possible to pursue Computer Science and Astrophysics simultaneously. As a child I was fascinated with the origin of the universe and wanted to know how everything started and how everything works and later in Life I got interested in programming and Artificial Intelligence and Quantum Computing recently. So my question is that, is there a way to somehow bridge the gap between Computer science (Artificial intelligence and Quantum computing more specifically) and Astrophysics that I can happily pursue in my future.I would be very happy to hear from everyone.
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  3. Sep 8, 2017 #2
    I can't honestly think of any correlations with the two. Although I have had a similar question about merging AI and physics in general. There didn't seem to be a career in which the two would be applicable. You could be a computational physicist, but that's just physics with more programming involved than average. Could you double major/minor in both of the fields? Yes, it is very possible. Would you find a career where both would be applicable? No.
  4. Sep 8, 2017 #3


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    Actually, if you're interested in pursuing astrophysics, I think you would be hard pressed NOT to find any overlap with computer science in the coming decades.

    I heard a brief segment on the radio last night about at new radio-telescope in Penticton BC, and the astrophysicist they were interviewing was talking about how what's unique about it is that unlike most modern telescopes it doesn't track a specific segment of the sky. My guess is that they're more interested in the frequency space of the signals they receive, although I didn't quite catch the details. The point though was that the whole project was enabled by the ability to do fast processing of the data it will take. Here's a (non scientific) link to the article.

    In radiology, I think we're going to see a lot of work being done in the coming years using AI to extract information from images and assist radiologists with diagnoses. There's no reason to assume that AI won't play a major role in doing much the same thing in mapping the sky, or answering some of the big questions in astrophysics.
  5. Sep 8, 2017 #4
    That's interesting, I haven't took a look at the article but I will after my reply. I didn't know that there was an overlap of astrophysics and AI. Do you think there would ever be an overlap in general physics and AI? I have done some researching and I can't find anything so far.

    EDIT: Really interesting article. I just followed any of the social media updates I could find. Excited to see what it discovers!
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 8, 2017
  6. Sep 8, 2017 #5


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    I'm sure there is and will continue to be. Any problem that involves processing large amounts of data and/or pattern recognition is likely to benefit from machine learning. A friend of mine did some work with neural networks processing data for the MINOS neutrino oscillation experiment a few years ago, for example. If you're having a difficult time finding examples, you might just want to refine your search terms a little bit - rather than "artificial intelligence" search for specific machine learning algorithms: neural networks, naïve Bayes classifier, principle component analysis and specific problems in physics that you're interested in.
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  8. Sep 12, 2017 #7
  9. Sep 12, 2017 #8


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  10. Sep 12, 2017 #9


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    Machine learning is very big in physics these days. I hear people talking about it all the time. It has a lot of applications in fields like biophysics and quantum many body physics where you have very complex systems with the many the different components interacting with each other.
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