The Universe in a Stream: Challenges and Progress of the ALeRCE Broker | Francisco Förster Burón, Universidad de Chile


Friday, November 15, 2019, 1:30am to 2:30am


Harvard University, Maxwell Dworkin G115, 33 Oxford Street, Cambridge MA

IACS seminars are free and open to the public; no registration is required. Lunch will not be provided.

ABSTRACT: To effectively connect the astronomical follow up infrastructure with a new generation of large etendue survey telescopes, such as ZTF or LSST, there is a need for a new type of instrument: the astronomical alert brokers. In this talk, Dr. Francisco Förster Burón will review the challenges and progress of building one of these systems: the Automatic Learning for the Rapid Classification of Events (ALeRCE) astronomical alert broker. ALeRCE ( is a new alert annotation and classification system led by an interdisciplinary and interinstitutional group of scientists from Chile and the US. ALeRCE is focused around three scientific cases: transients, variable stars and active galactic nuclei. Additionally, Dr. Burón will discuss some of the challenges associated with the problem of alert classification, including the ingestion, annotation, database management, training set building, distributed processing, machine learning classification and visualization, or the challenges of working in large interdisciplinary teams. He will show some results based on the real‐time ingestion and classification using the ZTF alert stream as input, as well as some of the tools available.

BIO: Francisco Förster Burón is an astronomer and Research Scientist at the Center for Mathematical Modelling (CMM) at Universidad de Chile. He is also a young researcher of the Millennium Institute of Astrophysics (MAS) and a Fondecyt Iniciación Fellow. He did his Ph.D. thesis on Type Ia Supernovae progenitors at the University of Oxford (2009) with Philipp Podsiadlowski. His current work focuses in constraining the progenitors of supernovae via a real-time analysis of large volumes of data taken with the DECam instrument and using the supercomputer at the National Laboratory for High Performance Computing.

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