In this paper we discuss an application of machine learning based methods to the identification of candidate AGN from optical survey data and to the automatic classification of AGNs in broad classes. We applied four different machine learning algorithms, namely the Multi Layer Perceptron (MLP), trained respectively with the Conjugate Gradient, Scaled Conjugate Gradient and Quasi Newton learning rules, and the Support Vector Machines (SVM), to tackle the problem of the classification of emission line galaxies in different classes, mainly AGNs vs non-AGNs, obtained using optical photometry in place of the diagnostics based on line intensity ratios which are classically used in the literature. Using the same photometric features we discuss also the behavior of the classifiers on finer AGN classification tasks, namely Seyfert I vs Seyfert II and Seyfert vs LINER. Furthermore we describe the algorithms employed, the samples of spectroscopically classified galaxies used to train the algorithms, the procedure followed to select the photometric parameters and the performances of our methods in terms of multiple statistical indicators. The results of the experiments show that the application of self adaptive data mining algorithms trained on spectroscopic data sets and applied to carefully chosen photometric parameters represents a viable alternative to the classical methods that employ time-consuming spectroscopic observations.
Date added: Fri, 11 Oct 13