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Neural Netw. 2003 Apr-May;16(3-4):297-319.

Neural networks in astronomy.

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Departimento di Matematica e Informatica-DMI, Università di Salerno, Baronissi, Italy.


In the last decade, the use of neural networks (NN) and of other soft computing methods has begun to spread also in the astronomical community which, due to the required accuracy of the measurements, is usually reluctant to use automatic tools to perform even the most common tasks of data reduction and data mining. The federation of heterogeneous large astronomical databases which is foreseen in the framework of the astrophysical virtual observatory and national virtual observatory projects, is, however, posing unprecedented data mining and visualization problems which will find a rather natural and user friendly answer in artificial intelligence tools based on NNs, fuzzy sets or genetic algorithms. This review is aimed to both astronomers (who often have little knowledge of the methodological background) and computer scientists (who often know little about potentially interesting applications), and therefore will be structured as follows: after giving a short introduction to the subject, we shall summarize the methodological background and focus our attention on some of the most interesting fields of application, namely: object extraction and classification, time series analysis, noise identification, and data mining. Most of the original work described in the paper has been performed in the framework of the AstroNeural collaboration (Napoli-Salerno).

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