QUOTAS: A New Research Platform for the Data-driven Discovery of Black Holes

Priyamvada Natarajan, Kwok Sun Tang, Robert McGibbon, Sadegh Khochfar, Brian Nord, Steinn Sigurdsson, Joe Tricot, Nico Cappelluti, Daniel George, Jack Hidary

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We present QUOTAS, a novel research platform for the data-driven investigation of supermassive black hole (SMBH) populations. While SMBH data—observations and simulations—have grown in complexity and abundance, our computational environments and tools have not matured commensurately to exhaust opportunities for discovery. To explore the BH, host galaxy, and parent dark matter halo connection—in this pilot version—we assemble and colocate the high-redshift, z > 3 quasar population alongside simulated data at the same cosmic epochs. As a first demonstration of the utility of QUOTAS, we investigate correlations between observed Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) quasars and their hosts with those derived from simulations. Leveraging machine-learning algorithms (ML), to expand simulation volumes, we show that halo properties extracted from smaller dark-matter-only simulation boxes successfully replicate halo populations in larger boxes. Next, using the Illustris-TNG300 simulation that includes baryonic physics as the training set, we populate the larger LEGACY Expanse dark-matter-only box with quasars, and show that observed SDSS quasar occupation statistics are accurately replicated. First science results from QUOTAS comparing colocated observational and ML-trained simulated data at z3 are presented. QUOTAS demonstrates the power of ML, in analyzing and exploring large data sets, while also offering a unique opportunity to interrogate theoretical assumptions that underpin accretion and feedback models. QUOTAS and all related materials are publicly available at the Google Kaggle platform. (The full data set—observational data and simulation data—are available at: https://www.kaggle.com/ and the codes are available at:https://www.kaggle.com/datasets/quotasplatform/quotas)

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number146
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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