How Katie Bouman’s Algorithm Made the Black Hole Image Possible

The development of the algorithm that made it possible to create the first image ever of a black hole was led by computer scientist Katie Bouman while she was still a graduate student at MIT.

The algorithm, which Bouman named CHIRP (Continuous High-resolution Image Reconstruction using Patch priors) was needed to combine data from the eight radio telescopes around the world working under Event Horizon Telescope, the international collaboration that captured the black hole image, and turn it into a cohesive image.

Bouman is currently a postdoctoral fellow with Event Horizon Telescope and will start as an assistant professor in Caltech’s computing and mathematical sciences department.

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