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Space Science

Identify Galaxies Using Spare Wetware Cycles 136

Posted by kdawson
from the blinded-by-science dept.
hazem invites us to have fun, learn about galaxies, and actually help astronomers by looking at pictures of galaxies and identifying the type. Warning: it's more addictive than Tetris. From the site: "GalaxyZoo... harnesses the power of the internet — and your brain — to classify a million galaxies. By taking part, you'll not only be contributing to scientific research, but you'll view parts of the Universe that literally no-one has ever seen before and get a sense of the glorious diversity of galaxies that pepper the sky. Why do we need you? The simple answer is that the human brain is much better at recognizing patterns than a computer can ever be. Any computer program we write to sort our galaxies into categories would do a reasonable job, but it would also inevitably throw out the unusual, the weird and the wonderful. To rescue these interesting systems which have a story to tell, we need you."
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Identify Galaxies Using Spare Wetware Cycles

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  • Alternatively (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TubeSteak (669689) on Saturday July 14, 2007 @05:58PM (#19862197) Journal
    Wouldn't it make sense to write a program and have it shunt all the uncertain galaxies over to human eyes?
  • by fm6 (162816) on Saturday July 14, 2007 @06:09PM (#19862257) Homepage Journal
    Such a project only makes sense if there are a lot of galaxies. And indeed there are: thousands are visible, and estimates of the grand total vary between 100 billion and half a trillion.

    Big numbers. But don't forget that each galaxy contains hundreds of millions of stars. Of which ours is just one.

    Which should give us all a little humility. But it won't.
  • Re:Stardust @ Home (Score:5, Insightful)

    by scapermoya (769847) on Saturday July 14, 2007 @06:41PM (#19862473) Homepage
    funny? more like awesome. computers can do certain stuff super well, but when it comes to a lot of things, they sputter and die. image recognition is going to be one of those things that computers don't do well for many many years.

    feels good not to be obsolete. yet.
  • Re:Stardust @ Home (Score:5, Insightful)

    by suv4x4 (956391) on Saturday July 14, 2007 @08:21PM (#19863155)
    FTFA: The simple answer is that the human brain is much better at recognizing patterns than a computer can ever be. Any computer program we write to sort our galaxies into categories would do a reasonable job, but it would also inevitably throw out the unusual, the weird and the wonderful.

    You can't target this at geeks and not a get a weird grin. Computers actually could recognize those galaxies fine, AND mark the unusual, weird and wonderful for additional review. It's a matter of putting in a simple threshold of matching features when you analyze the patterns.

    computers can do certain stuff super well, but when it comes to a lot of things, they sputter and die. image recognition is going to be one of those things that computers don't do well for many many years.

    feels good not to be obsolete. yet.


    Feel good while you can, we've been around for millions of years, and computers have been around for around 50 years, and we're already going into multi-core hardware. Sooner than later, massively parallel hardware patterns will emerge, and coding super-fast neural networks in those will be a child's play. All that's left at this point, would be training the computers to do what you want them to do, like you would a little child.
  • Re:Alternatively (Score:2, Insightful)

    by vladsinger (1049918) on Saturday July 14, 2007 @09:55PM (#19863723)
    They need a button for face on spiral galaxies that are so fuzzy you can't tell the direction of the arms...

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