Hi there! 👋 I'm a third-year math and physics undergrad at the University of Toronto and a Laidlaw Scholar. Broadly, I'm interested in leveraging deep learning to accelerate scientific discovery, safely.
Currently at UC Berkeley SETI Research Center I'm looking into leveraging geometric deep learning to search the nearest 1 million stars for signs of life beyond Earth with the Breakthrough Listen team. This work will temporarily be on pause during the summer.
Soon I'll be at CERN in the summer helping to develop the Liquid Argon Calorimeter responsible for precisely measuring the energies produced in proton-proton collisions of the future High Luminosity Large Hadron Collider. This work is done jointly with the Experimental Particle Physics group at McGill.
Previously at Caltech I developed deep learning algorithms to assist controlling LIGO. Before that I was at Dunlap Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics, where I developed an ensemble learning algorithm deployed on the CHIME radio telescope. For other experiences please see below.
When I'm not busy teaching computers, I love climbing and making art. Come say hi \(\Rightarrow \)Twitter @peterma02 Email: peterxy.ma [at] gmail [dot] com :)
First Author SETI Papers
search for radio technosignatures from 820 nearby stars
Ma, P. et al. (2023) Nature Astronomy - Published here
A Deep Neural Network Based Reverse Radio Spectrogram Search
Ma, P. et al. (2023) Submitted to RASTI - Preprint here
First Author LIGO Papers
A Deep Learning Technique to Control the
Non-linear Dynamics of a Gravitational-wave
Ma, P. et al. (2023) Submitted to IEEE - Transactions on Neural Networks - Preprint here
Intern Researcher: July 2023 - Sept 2023
Coming soon ....
McGill University - Experimental Particle Physics Group
Intern Researcher: May 2023 - July 2023
Coming soon ....
California Institute of Technology - LIGO
Intern Researcher: June 2022 - Sept 2022
I work on tackling non-linear dynamic control problems using deep learning. I specifically investigated attention-based state estimators and reinforcement learning for LIGO's locking acquisition to help detect gravitational waves. I work with Dr. Gabriele Vajente on this ambitious project.
Our preprint paper can be found here
UofT - Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics
Researcher Assistant: Dec 2021 - Apr 2022
Work on developing novel ensemble machine learning models for FRB detection with the CHIME/FRB project. My algorithm now actively runs in production to help improve the core detection pipeline. I am grateful to have worked under Prof. Bryan Gaensler! The goal is to one day use these detections to help astronomers answer important questions regarding the origins of these objects and potential cosmological questions.
UC Berkeley SETI Research Center
Co-mentor: Sept 2022 - Dec 2022
I co-mentor with Dr. Steve Croft. a group of undergraduates from UC Berkeley on developing a deep learning based "reverse image search" method for radio spectrograms leveraging the techniques from computer vision.
Intern Researcher: [June 2020 - April 2022] and [Sept 2022 - May 2023] On pause
Currently developing attention-based geometric deep learning models for the MeerKAT telescope to conduct the largest search effort for signs of life beyond Earth, surveying 1 million stars over a span of 2 years. I am supervised by Dr. Cherry Ng and Dr. Steve Croft,.
Previously I explored how deep neural nets like Disentangled B-VAE's can search 820 stars for technosignatures. My first paper was published in Nature Astronomy! Supervisors were Dr. Cherry Ng, and Dr. Andrew Siemion
In high school I helped build a distributed cloud computing platform for Astronomy Research with Dr. Steve Croft and Yuhong Chen!
Volunteer Researcher: May 2022 - Aug 2022
I work on developing Natural Language Processing models for text classification in building the sustainable development goal (SDG) data catalogue pipeline. The goal is to help build tools that power data driven policy making in achieving the 17 SDG goals set by the UN.
University of Toronto - Math and Physics Specialist 2020-2024
The Knowledge Society (TKS) 2018-2020
Unionville High School 2016-2020
Research Funding / Fellowships
NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Awards - 2023 March
IPP Summer Student Fellowship - 2023 Jan
Caltech SURF Fellowship - 2022 April
Laidlaw Research Scholar - 2021 April
Victoria College Incourse Scholarship- 2022 August
The Gregory L and Margaret I Baker Scholarship - 2021 August
APS [American Physical Society] New York [Speaker]- April 2022
RFI2022 Reading UK [Speaker]- Feb 2022
2022 Finalist American Statistical Association Astrostatistics Best Student Paper Competition- 2022 Jan
Mars Institute Honorary Distinction Award - 2020 June
Silver Medalist and Best of Physical Sciences - IRIC INSPOScience Fair [North America] 2020 June
McHacks Hackathon @ McGill MLH Award- 2020 Feb