Volume 628, August 2019
|Number of page(s)||14|
|Section||Numerical methods and codes|
|Published online||20 August 2019|
Convolutional neural networks on the HEALPix sphere: a pixel-based algorithm and its application to CMB data analysis
SISSA, Via Bonomea 265, 34136 Trieste, Italy
2 IFPU, Institute for Fundamental Physics of the Universe, Via Beirut 2, 34014 Trieste, Italy
3 Dipartimento di Fisica “Aldo Pontremoli”, Università degli Studi di Milano, Via Celoria 16, 20133 Milano, Italy
4 Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN), Sezione di Milano, Via Celoria 16, 20133 Milano, Italy
Accepted: 28 June 2019
We describe a novel method for the application of convolutional neural networks (CNNs) to fields defined on the sphere, using the Hierarchical Equal Area Latitude Pixelization scheme (HEALPix). Specifically, we have developed a pixel-based approach to implement convolutional and pooling layers on the spherical surface, similarly to what is commonly done for CNNs applied to Euclidean space. The main advantage of our algorithm is to be fully integrable with existing, highly optimized libraries for NNs (e.g., PyTorch, TensorFlow, etc.). We present two applications of our method: (i) recognition of handwritten digits projected on the sphere; (ii) estimation of cosmological parameter from simulated maps of the cosmic microwave background (CMB). The latter represents the main target of this exploratory work, whose goal is to show the applicability of our CNN to CMB parameter estimation. We have built a simple NN architecture, consisting of four convolutional and pooling layers, and we have used it for all the applications explored herein. Concerning the recognition of handwritten digits, our CNN reaches an accuracy of ∼95%, comparable with other existing spherical CNNs, and this is true regardless of the position and orientation of the image on the sphere. For CMB-related applications, we tested the CNN on the estimation of a mock cosmological parameter, defining the angular scale at which the power spectrum of a Gaussian field projected on the sphere peaks. We estimated the value of this parameter directly from simulated maps, in several cases: temperature and polarization maps, presence of white noise, and partially covered maps. For temperature maps, the NN performances are comparable with those from standard spectrum-based Bayesian methods. For polarization, CNNs perform about a factor four worse than standard algorithms. Nonetheless, our results demonstrate, for the first time, that CNNs are able to extract information from polarization fields, both in full-sky and masked maps, and to distinguish between E and B-modes in pixel space. Lastly, we have applied our CNN to the estimation of the Thomson scattering optical depth at reionization (τ) from simulated CMB maps. Even without any specific optimization of the NN architecture, we reach an accuracy comparable with standard Bayesian methods. This work represents a first step towards the exploitation of NNs in CMB parameter estimation and demonstrates the feasibility of our approach.
Key words: methods: data analysis / methods: numerical / cosmic background radiation
© ESO 2019
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