Evolving stellar models to find the origins of our galaxy

Conrad Chan, Alexander Heger, Aldeida Aleti, Kate Smith-Miles

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review


After the Big Bang, it took about 200 million years before the very first stars would form - now more than 13 billion years ago. Unfortunately, we will not be able to observe these stars directly. Instead, we can observe the'fossil' records that these stars have left behind, preserved in the oldest stars of our own galaxy. When the first stars exploded as supernovae, their ashes were dispersed and the next generation of stars formed, incorporating some of the debris. We can now measure the chemical abundances in those old stars, which is similar to a genetic fingerprint that allows us to identify the parents. In this paper, we develop a Genetic Algorithm (GA) for identifying the'parents' of these old stars in our galaxy. The objective is to study the now extinct first stars in the universe - what their properties were, how they lived and died, how many they were, and even how different or alike they were. The GA is evaluated on its effectiveness in finding the right combination of ashes from theoretical models. The solutions found by the GA are compared to observational data. The aim is to find out which theoretical data, i.e., abundances of chemical elements, best matches the current observations.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2019 Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference
Subtitle of host publication2019 Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference, GECCO 2019; Prague; Czech Republic; 13 July 2019 through 17 July 2019
EditorsAnne Auger, Thomas Stützle
Place of PublicationNew York NY USA
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781450361118
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventThe Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference 2019 - Prague, Czechia
Duration: 13 Jul 201917 Jul 2019
Conference number: 21st
https://dl.acm.org/doi/proceedings/10.1145/3321707 (Proceedings)


ConferenceThe Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference 2019
Abbreviated titleGECCO 2019
OtherGECCO is the largest selective conference in the field of Evolutionary Computation, and the main conference of the Special Interest Group on Genetic and Evolutionary Computation (SIGEVO) of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). GECCO implements a rigorous and selective reviewing process to identify important and technically sound papers to publish. The technical program is divided into thirteen tracks reflecting all aspects of our field and chaired by experts who make the decisions on accepted papers.
Internet address


  • Astrophysics
  • Genetic Algorithms

Cite this