The signals observed by the SETI team come from a dwarf galaxy about 3 billion light years from Earth that was first noticed for its fast radio bursts in 2012.
The same dwarf galaxy has continued to intrigue astronomers. In 2016, after tech billionaire Yuri Milner donated $100 million toward searching for extraterrestrial life, the research team set their sights back on this distant galaxy.
Last year, they collected more than 400 terabytes of data by using the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia, the world's largest steerable dish antenna. Originally, the team detected 21 instances of FRB bursts when they scanned the data.
Using the new machine-learning algorithm, the same data set was found to have 72 fast radio bursts more than originally detected. SETI officials hailed the discovery as an example of the power of machine-learning techniques.
"These results hint that there could be vast numbers of additional signals that our current algorithms are missing and clearly demonstrate the power of applying modern data analytics and AI tools to astronomical research," said Bill Diamond, SETI Institute president and CEO. "Applying these techniques in the search for evidence of extraterrestrial technologies, or technosignatures, is incredibly compelling, together with addressing the tantalizing phenomena of FRBs."
SETI officials say they will pursue additional research on the signals, including clues as to whether they are a sign of extraterrestrial life.
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