Katie Bouman: the woman behind the first image of the black hole

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Title of the mediaKatie Bouman designed an algorithm that made the image possible.

A 29-year-old computer scientist has won praise worldwide for helping develop the algorithm that created the first image of a black hole.

Katie Bouman led the development of a computer program that made possible the advance image.

The extraordinary photo, which shows a halo of dust and gas to 500 million trillion kilometers from Earth, was published on Wednesday.

For Dr. Bouman, his creation was the realization of an effort that was previously thought impossible.

Preparing herself excited for the innovative moment, she imagined Dr. Bouman carrying the image on her laptop.

"Watching in disbelief as the first image I made of a black hole was in the process of being reconstructed," he wrote in the text of the Facebook post.

  • First image of a black hole thrown.
  • OBSERVE: Image & # 39; a dream come true & # 39;

She started doing the algorithm three years ago when she was a graduate student at the Mbadachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

There, he led the project, with the badistance of a team from the MIT Artificial Science and Intelligence Laboratory, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and the MIT Haystack Observatory.

The image of the black hole, captured by the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), a network of eight connected telescopes, was represented by Dr. Bouman's algorithm.

In the hours following the important launch of the photo, Dr. Bouman became an international sensation, with her name on Twitter.

Copyright of the image

Image capture

The first photo of a black hole, taken with a global network of telescopes

In a tweet, the New York Democrat, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, wrote that Ms. Bouman should take her "legitimate seat in history."

"Congratulations and thanks for your enormous contribution to the advances of science and humanity," he wrote on Twitter. "Here's #WomenInSTEM!", Which means science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Dr. Bouman was also acclaimed by MIT and the Smithsonian on social media.

"Three years ago, Katie Bouman, a graduate student at MIT, led the creation of a new algorithm to produce the first image of a black hole," wrote MIT's Laboratory of Artificial Intelligence and Computer Science. "Today, that image was launched."

But Dr. Bouman, now an badistant professor of computer science and mathematics at the California Institute of Technology, insisted that the team that helped her deserve the same credit.

The effort to capture the image, using telescopes in places ranging from Antarctica to Chile, involved a team of more than 200 scientists.

"None of us could have done it alone," he told CNN. "He joined because of the large number of people from different backgrounds."

What do we know about the black hole?

  • The black hole, which is "invisible" to the naked eye, measures 40 billion kilometers wide, or three million times the size of Earth.
  • It was scanned for a period of 10 days in the galaxy Messier 87
  • It is "larger than the size of our entire Solar System," Professor Heino Falcke, of Radboud University in the Netherlands, told the BBC, who proposed the experiment.

How did your algorithm create the image?

In short, Dr. Bouman and others developed a series of algorithms that converted the telescopic data into the historical photo shared by the world's media.

In mathematics and computer science, an algorithm is a process or set of rules that are used to solve problems.

No telescope is powerful enough to capture the black hole, so a network of eight was configured to do so using a technique called interferometry.

The data they captured was stored on hundreds of hard drives that were moved to central processing centers in Boston, USA. UU And Bonn, Germany.

Image capture

The eventual EHT network will have 12 widely spaced participating radio facilities

It was said that Dr. Bouman's method for processing this raw data was fundamental in the creation of the striking image.

She led a testing process whereby multiple algorithms with "different badumptions built into them" tried to retrieve a photo of the data.

The results of the algorithms were badyzed by four separate teams to generate confidence in the veracity of their findings.

"We are a melting pot of astronomers, physicists, mathematicians and engineers, and that is what is needed to achieve something that was thought impossible," says Dr. Bouman.

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