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Deep learning insights into cosmological structure formation

by   Luisa Lucie-Smith, et al.

While the evolution of linear initial conditions present in the early universe into extended halos of dark matter at late times can be computed using cosmological simulations, a theoretical understanding of this complex process remains elusive. Here, we build a deep learning framework to learn this non-linear relationship, and develop techniques to physically interpret the learnt mapping. A three-dimensional convolutional neural network (CNN) is trained to predict the mass of dark matter halos from the initial conditions. We find no change in the predictive accuracy of the model if we retrain the model removing anisotropic information from the inputs. This suggests that the features learnt by the CNN are equivalent to spherical averages over the initial conditions. Our results indicate that interpretable deep learning frameworks can provide a powerful tool for extracting insight into cosmological structure formation.


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