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

DeepSurveySim: Simulation Software and Benchmark Challenges for Astronomical Observation Scheduling

M Voetberg · Brian Nord


Modern astronomical surveys have multiple competing scientific goals.Optimizing the observation schedule for these goals presents significant computational and theoretical challenges, and state-of-the-art methods rely on expensive human inspection of simulated telescope schedules. Automated methods, such as reinforcement learning, have recently been explored to accelerate scheduling. However, there do not yet exist benchmark data sets or user-friendly software frameworks for testing and comparing these methods. We present DeepSurveySim -- a high-fidelity and flexible simulation tool for use in telescope scheduling. DeepSurveySim provides methods for tracking and approximating sky conditions for a set of observations from a user-supplied telescope configuration. We envision this tool being used to produce benchmark data sets and for evaluating the efficacy of ground-based telescope scheduling algorithms. We introduce three example survey configurations and related code implementations as benchmark problems that can be simulated with DeepSurveySim.

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