Warren Center Speaker: Andrew Connolly
June 16, 2014 | David Rittenhouse Laboratory, room A6
Monday, June 16th, 2014
3:00 pm in David Rittenhouse Laboratory, room A6
Organized by Bhuvnesh Jain
Title: Cosmology in the Era of Big Data
Abstract: With the development of new detectors, telescopes and computational facilities, astrophysics has entered an era of data intensive science. During the last decade, astronomers have surveyed the sky across many decades of the electromagnetic spectrum, collecting hundreds of terabytes of astronomical images for hundreds of millions of sources.
Over the next decade, data volumes will reach tens of petabytes, and provide accurate measurements for billions of sources. In this talk I will discuss some of the practical statistical challenges that we face when analyzing data that, while massive in size, is intrinsically noisy and incomplete. I will show how, by combining compression and dimensionality reduction techniques with our knowledge of the underlying astrophysics, we can overcome some these challenges and address questions as diverse as the detection of potentially Earth impacting asteroids through to the nature of dark energy and dark matter.
Bio: Andrew Connolly is a Professor in the Department of Astronomy at the University of Washington. His work focuses on using large surveys to study cosmology and the evolution of galaxies. This ranges from studying the clustering of galaxies and their evolution with redshift, weak gravitational lensing of galaxies, and estimating the properties of galaxies based on their colors (aka photometric redshifts). The common theme to this work is addressing the need for massive data sets and how to work with them. One area that interests him is the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) where he leads the development of simulations of what LSST might observe. Beyond cosmology, he is also interested in how to make the technologies that companies use to search the internet useful in research and education.