Transfer learning for radio galaxy classification

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the context of radio galaxy classification, most state-of-the-art neural network algorithms have been focused on single survey data. The question of whether these trained algorithms have cross-survey identification ability or can be adapted to develop classification networks for future surveys is still unclear. One possible solution to address this issue is transfer learning, which re-uses elements of existing machine learning models for different applications. Here we present radio galaxy classification based on a 13-layer Deep Convolutional Neural Network (DCNN) using transfer learning methods between different radio surveys. We find that our machine learning models trained from a random initialization achieve accuracies comparable to those found elsewhere in the literature. When using transfer learning methods, we find that inheriting model weights pre-trained on FIRST images can boost model performance when re-training on lower resolution NVSS data, but that inheriting pre-trained model weights from NVSS and re-training on FIRST data impairs the performance of the classifier. We consider the implication of these results in the context of future radio surveys planned for next-generation radio telescopes such as ASKAP, MeerKAT, and SKA1-MID.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3358-3375
Number of pages17
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Early online date25 Jul 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Jul 2019


  • astro-ph.IM


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