ResearchNew Research Group in Computational Astrophysics

Press Release No. 84/2022
4 August 2022

Tobias Buck links machine learning with computer simulations to gain new insights into the origin of galaxies

A new research group in the field of computational astrophysics is starting its work at Heidelberg University in August 2022. It is based at the Interdisciplinary Center for Scientific Computing (IWR) and the Centre for Astronomy of Heidelberg University. The team, led by Dr Tobias Buck, will combine cutting-edge methods of machine learning with high-resolution cosmological computer simulations in order to gain new scientific insights into the origin of galaxies. The Carl-Zeiss-Stiftung is funding the research for six years with approximately 1.5 million euros.

Dr Tobias Buck

With his research group and the project “Enhancing computational astrophysics with interpretable machine learning” Dr Buck wants to develop innovative methods of scientific computing from the synthesis of physical laws and machine learning. “By doing so we want to contribute to astrophysics and, on top of that, make the algorithms of machine learning generally more robust. The aim is to make them more easily interpretable,” he underlines. Tobias Buck is one of five young researchers selected in a multi-step procedure for funding in the Nexus Programme of the Carl-Zeiss-Stiftung. It offers young scientists the opportunity to set up their own interdisciplinary research group and to implement research projects at the interface between different MINT disciplines.

Tobias Buck studied at Heidelberg University where, in 2018, he gained his doctorate in the field of astrophysics. After that, he obtained a postdoctoral position at the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics in Potsdam. There, in the Cosmology and High-Energy Astrophysics section, he explored the physical processes leading to the emergence of galaxies with the aid of astronomic observations and computer simulations. He is especially interested in galaxies similar to the Milky Way, as well as their satellite galaxies. They give information about large-scale cosmological processes of structure formation.

The Carl-Zeiss-Stiftung’s mission is to create an open environment for scientific breakthroughs. To that end, it supports basic research and also applied research and teaching in the MINT disciplines, i.e. in mathematics, informatics, natural sciences and technology.

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