KECK INSTITUTE FOR SPACE STUDIES

       

Data-Driven Approaches to Searches for the Technosignatures of Advanced Civilizations

May 20 - 24, 2019
California Institute of Technology - Pasadena, CA 91125

Workshop Overview:

The focus of the study is new approaches toward the search for intelligent life elsewhere in the Universe.  Such a discovery would have profound scientific, cultural and societal impact.  In the era of the rapid advances in exoplanet studies, including searches for biomarkers, and the exponential growth of data, the time is right to revisit this challenge using a fresh, data-driven approach that would minimize the existing anthropocentric and cultural biases as much as possible.

We will explore the possible paths for a systematic exploration of observable parameter spaces derived from the modern sky surveys, using machine learning and other computational tools.  To this effect, we will address specific methods to conduct objective and unbiased searches for sources or signals that would appear anomalous in some well-defined way, and investigate the possible ways of separating those of possible artificial origins from the natural, albeit rare physical phenomena.

The outcome of this study would be an evaluation of the possible technical approaches to this problem that can be applied on the existing and forthcoming data sets and streams from large sky surveys, and the recommendations for the observing strategies that may increase the chances of the success.  These can be used as a basis for the larger proposals for the future studies.
 
As an added benefit, this study would also sharpen our methodology to look for the rare and/or as yet unknown natural phenomena that may be hidden in these vast data sets.

Monday, May 20, 2019 - Hameetman Auditorium, Cahill Center - Caltech

Short Course: Data-Driven Approaches to Searches for Technosignatures
Introductory Lectures - Open to all interested students, researchers and faculty

Time
Event
Speaker
8:15 - 8:45 Coffee and Refreshments
8:45 - 9:00

Welcome and Logistics

Michele Judd
Team Leads

9:00 - 9:45

Exoplanets, SETI, and Technosignatures

Andrew Howard and Sofia Sheikh
(9.7 MB .pdf)

9:45 - 10:30

The Astronomy Data Landscape and Observable Parameter Spaces

George Djorgovski
(20.47 MB .pdf)
10:30 - 11:00

Break

11:00 - 11:45

Detecting the Unexpected: An Introduction to Anomaly Detection Methods

Kiri Wagstaff
(4.4 MB .pdf)

11:45 - 12:30

An Introduction to Time Series Analysis

Matthew Graham
(12.44 MB .pdf)

12:30 - 1:30

Short Course Ends: Informal Lunch is provided on Cahill Patio

Invitation-Only Workshop Begins
Keck Center - Think Tank, Room 155

1:30 - 1:45

Walk to Keck Center, pick up badge and welcome packet, find seat in the Think Tank

1:45 - 2:30

Workshop Logistics and Introduction to KISS

Michele Judd and Tom Prince
2:30 - 3:00

Participant Introductions

Michele Judd

3:00 - 3:30

Study vision and goals for this workshop

Team Leads

3:30 - 4:00

Break

4:00 - 5:00 Finalize study vision and workshop goals via plenary discussion Team Leads
5:00 - 5:30 Solicitation of Lightning Talks Team Leads
5:30 - 6:00 Pack up and walk to the Athenaeum All
6:00 Dinner at the Athenaeum

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Keck Center - Think Tank, Room 155

Time
Event
Speaker
8:00 - 8:30

Institute Opens - FREE THINK TIME

8:30 - 9:00

Coffee and Refreshments at Keck Center

9:00 - 9:15

Logistics and Team Lead Goals for the Day

Michele Judd and Team Leads

9:15 - 10:00

Special Topic: Information Theory

Victoria Kostina

10:00 - 10:30

Lightning Talks (2)

TBD by participants
10:30 - 11:00

Break

11:00 - 11:15

Selection of Breakout Groups and Topics

All
11:15 - 12:30

Breakout Groups Meet

Groups

12:30 - 2:00

Group Picture and Lunch at the Athenaeum

2:00 - 2:45 Report outs from breakout groups (15 mins each) Groups
2:45 - 3:15 Lightning Talks (3):
1) NASA Technosignatures Report Summary
Dawn M. Gelino
(391 KB .pdf)
3:15 - 3:30 Selection of Breakout Groups and Topics All
3:30 - 4:00 Break
4:00 - 5:30 Breakout Groups Meet Groups
5:30 - 7:30 POSTER-ish SESSION and informal food truck dinner at the Keck Center
(dinner starts at 6:30 pm)

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Keck Center - Think Tank, Room 155

Time
Event
Speaker
8:00 - 8:30

Institute Opens - FREE THINK TIME

8:30 - 9:00

Coffee and Refreshments at Keck Center

9:00 - 9:15

Logistics and Team Lead Goals for the Day

Michele Judd
Team Leads

9:15 - 9:45

Report Outs from Breakout Groups (10 mins each)

Groups
9:45 - 10:30

Special Topic #2: Thinking Like a Non-Human

Denise Herzing

10:30 - 11:00

Break

11:00 - 11:45

Lightning talks (3)

TBD by participants

11:45 - 12:30

Plenary Discussion, Selection of Breakout Groups and Topics

All
12:30 - 2:00  Lunch at Athenaeum
2:00 - 3:30 Breakout Groups Meet All
3:30 - 4:00 Break
4:00 - 4:45 Report outs from breakout groups (15 mins each) Groups
4:45 - 5:30 Plenary Discussion on Participant Wants and Needs
Selection of Next Day's Breakout Groups
All
5:30 Workshop Day #3 Ends All
6:00 OPTIONAL: No-Host Dinner in Pasadena

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Keck Center - Think Tank, Room 155

Time
Event
Speaker
8:00 - 8:30

Institute Opens - FREE THINK TIME

8:30 - 9:00

Coffee and Refreshments at Keck Center

9:00 - 9:15

Logistics and Team Lead Goals for the Day

Michele Judd
Team Leads

9:15 - 10:00

Special Topic 3: Computational Biology

Lior Pachter
10:00 - 10:30

Lightning talks (2)

TBD by participants
10:30 - 11:00

Break

11:00 - 12:30

Breakout Groups Meet

All

12:30 - 2:00

Lunch on your own

2:00 - 2:30

FREE THINK TIME (individual, or self organizing small groups)

All

2:30 - 3:15 Report outs from breakout groups (15 mins each) Groups
3:15 - 3:30 Plenary Discussion, Selection of Breakout Groups All
3:30 - 4:00

Break

4:00 - 5:30 Break Out Sessions Groups
5:30 Workshop Day #4 Ends All
6:00 Dinner at the Athenaeum (with spouses and significant others)

Friday, May 24, 2019

Keck Center - Think Tank, Room 155

Time
Event
Speaker
8:00 - 8:30

Institute Opens - FREE THINK TIME

8:30 - 9:00

Coffee and Refreshments at Keck Center

9:00 - 9:15

Logistics and Team Lead Goals for the Day

Michele Judd
Team Leads

9:15 - 10:00

Breakout Groups Report Out

All
10:00 - 10:30

Open Discussion of Breakout Group Recommendations and Group Feedback

All
10:30 - 11:00

Break

11:00 - 12:30

Open Discussion of Breakout Group Recommendations and Group Feedback (continued)

All

12:30 - 1:30

Lunch at the Institute

1:30 - 2:30 Possible Break Out Groups / Advocacy / Illustrations / Path Forward All
2:30 - 3:30 Outline of Final Report All
3:30 - 4:00

Break

4:00 - 4:45 Final Study Activities and Assignments - Group Discussion All
4:45 - 5:00 Workshop Closeout Michele Judd
5:00 Workshop Concludes

Workshop Participants:

  • Bruce Allen – MPI for Gravitational Physics
  • Erica Cartmill - UCLA
  • Stefano Cavuoti - University of Naples Federico II
  • Curt Cutler – JPL
  • George Djorgovski – Caltech
  • Jacob Foster - UCLA
  • Dawn Gelino – Caltech
  • Matthew Graham – Caltech
  • Gregg Hallinan - Caltech
  • Kevin Hand – JPL
  • Denise Herzing – Wild Dolphin Project/Florida Atlantic University
  • Andrew Howard – Caltech
  • Victoria Kostina – Caltech
  • Joe Lazio – JPL
  • Giuseppe Longo – University of Naples Federico II
  • Ashish Mahabal – Caltech
  • Lior Pachter – Caltech
  • Vishal Rasiklal Gajjar – UC Berkeley
  • Vikram Ravi – Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
  • Umaa Rebbapragada – JPL
  • Sofia Sheikh - Pennsylvania State University
  • Gerry Sussman – MIT
  • Matt Thomson – Caltech
  • Kiri Wagstaff – JPL
  • Jason Wright – Penn State University

Lodging for out-of-town attendees

There are a number of hotels (3 pages pdf, 148KB) that are close to the Caltech campus where we have a negotiated rate. (Please note that this negotiated rate does not guarantee you the lowest rate as there may be internet specials or AAA rates that may be better.)

Please note that with enough notice, you can reserve rooms for attendees at the Athenaeum, which has been recognized as a Platinum Club of America. Newly refurbished, it is conveniently located on the Caltech Campus. Contact Janet Seid if you would like to check the availability of this option.


Visa Requirements

For Visa requirement information and travel to the United States please visit the website of the U.S. Department of State.


Parking (for Visitors and for JPL Personnel)

For Visitors: From the Arroyo Parkway, turn right (east) on Del Mar Avenue. Proceed approximately one and a quarter miles. The Caltech campus will be on your right. Turn right (south) onto Wilson Avenue. Turn right into the North Wilson Structure and park in an unmarked spot. Buy a parking permit from the kiosk located inside the North Wilson Structure or request one ahead of time from KISS.

For JPL Personnel: JPLers may use their JPL hang tag for parking or request a special parking hangtag from the JPL parking office. Employees who do not have on-Lab parking privileges can obtain a hang tag created for this purpose from JPL parking coordinator Robert Kennedy (818-354-4586, Building 310-108B, 9/80 schedule). Please park in an unmarked spot in the North Wilson Structure located on Wilson Avenue.


Maps and General Information on Pasadena

Directions and Maps