Deep reinforcement learning for smart calibration of radio telescopes

Sarod Yatawatta, Ian M. Avruch

Modern radio telescopes produce unprecedented amounts of data, which are passed through many processing pipelines before the delivery of scientific results. Hyperparameters of these pipelines need to be tuned by hand to produce optimal results. Because many thousands of observations are taken during a lifetime of a telescope and because each observation will have its unique settings, the fine tuning of pipelines is a tedious task. In order to automate this process of hyperparameter selection in data calibration pipelines, we introduce the use of reinforcement learning. We use a reinforcement learning technique called twin delayed deep deterministic policy gradient (TD3) to train an autonomous agent to perform this fine tuning. For the sake of generalization, we consider the pipeline to be a black-box system where only an interpreted state of the pipeline is used by the agent. The autonomous agent trained in this manner is able to determine optimal settings for diverse observations and is therefore able to perform 'smart' calibration, minimizing the need for human intervention.

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