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Workshop: NeurIPS 2023 Workshop: Machine Learning and the Physical Sciences

Equivariant Networks for Robust Galaxy Morphology Classification

Sneh Pandya · Purvik Patel · Franc O · Jonathan Blazek

Abstract: We propose the use of group convolutional neural network architectures (GCNNs) equivariant to the 2D Euclidean group, $E(2)$, for the task of galaxy morphology classification by utilizing symmetries of the data present in galaxy images as an inductive bias in the architecture. We conduct robustness studies by introducing artificial perturbations via Poisson noise insertion and one-pixel adversarial attacks to simulate the effects of limited observational capabilities. We train, validate, and test GCNNs on the Galaxy10 DECals dataset and find that GCNNs achieve higher classification accuracy and are consistently more robust than their non-equivariant counterparts, with an architecture equivariant to the group $D_{16}$ achieving a $95.52 \pm 0.18\%$ test-set accuracy and losing $<6\%$ accuracy on a 50\%-noise dataset.

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