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Using machine learning to look for dark matter in the Galactic Center, the Milky Way halo, and other galaxies

Date and Time: Tuesday, October 19, 2021, 02:30pm -
Location: 385E and Zoom:

Speaker: Siddharth Mishra-Sharma, MIT

Abstract: Advancements in machine learning have enabled new ways of doing inference on forward models defined through complex, high-dimensional simulations. After briefly motivating their use in the cosmological context, I will present applications of these simulation-based inference methods to three separate astrophysical systems with the goal of looking for signatures of dark matter. First, I will describe how they can be used to combine information from thousands of strong gravitational lensing systems in a principled way in order to extract the population properties of dark matter. Then, I will quantify their sensitivity to the collective imprint of dark matter subhalos in our own Galaxy on the measured motions of background luminous celestial objects. Finally, I will present an application to the Galactic Center gamma-ray excess, where the fact that our method can extract more information from the gamma-ray dataset than is possible with traditional techniques can be used to more robustly characterize the nature of the excess and constrain its dark matter properties.

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