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Spring 2006 Program on Astrostatistics

Kickoff Tutorials & Workshops

January 18-25, 2006

General Information
Tentative Schedule

General Information

The Opening Tutorials for the SAMSI program on Astrostatistics will be held Wednesday-Sunday, January 18-22, 2006, at SAMSI. These are designed to expose astronomers to modern methodologies in statistics and applied mathematics and familiarize statisticians with current trends in astronomy.

The Opening Workshop for the program will be held January 23-25, 2006 at the Radisson Hotel RTP in Research Triangle Park, NC. This workshop will focus on setting the scientific agenda for the program. Programmatic perspectives and necessary research directions will be provided by invited speakers and moderators who will focus the discussion among the attendees. To stimulate engagement of all participants, attendees are encouraged to participate in the discussions during the sessions, breaks, and periods of time devoted to the constitution of working groups. This will provide additional perspectives regarding symbiotic research directions to be pursued within the program.

The tutorials and workshop are joint activities with the Center for Astrostatistics at Penn State University.

Scientific Committee

G. J. Babu (Penn State University) - Chair, Alanna Connors (Eureka Scientific), Tom Loredo (Cornell University), and Larry Wasserman (Carnegie-Mellon University); Jim Berger (SAMSI - Directorate Liaison); Peter Bickel (Berkeley - National Advisory Committee Liaison)


The tutorials and workshop are open to all who are interested in the interfaces between astronomy, physics and statistics. New researchers (graduate students, postdocs, and faculty in the early stages of their careers) and members of underrepresented groups are especially encouraged to apply.


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Please make reservations at the Radisson as soon as possible. The SAMSI room block for the Radisson is effective until JANUARY 11, 2006.  After this date, there is no guarantee a room will be available.  If you have a change in plans, individual room reservations must be cancelled 72 hours prior to arrival. Check-in is at 3:00 PM; check-out is 12:00 noon.

As it is difficult to control the temperature in the large conference rooms, we suggest you bring a light jacket or sweater with you.


TUTORIALS (all tutorials will be held at the NISS/SAMSI building.)

NOTE: All seats in Tutorials 1, 2, and 3 are filled. Late registrations and walk-ins will not be accepted.

Tutorial 1. Bayesian Astrostatistics
January 18-20, 2006, NISS/SAMSI building, Room 104
Tom Loredo (Cornell) - Leader

Tutorial 1
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
NISS/SAMSI building, Room 104

Transportation Information
9:00-9:15 Welcome
9:15-10:30 Fundamentals (Loredo)
QuickTime Video
10:45-12:00 Basic counting and Point Process Models (Loredo)
QuickTime Video
12:00-1:30 Lunch
1:30-2:45 Probability and Frequency (Loredo)
QuickTime Video
Thursday, January 19
NISS/SAMSI building, Room 104

Transportation Information
9:15-10:30 Models with Gaussian Uncertainties I (Gregory)
QuickTime Video
10:45-12:00 Models with Gaussian Uncertainties II (Gregory)
QuickTime Video
12:00-1:30 Lunch
1:30-2:45 Basic Bayesian Computation (Loredo)
QuickTime Video
3:00-5:00 Statistical Computing with Python (Loredo), Python programs and examples. Notes on coincidence.
9:15-10:30 Intro to Markov Chain Monte Carlo, with R (Jefferys)
QuickTime Video
R Programs: Normal MCMC-Gibbs, Normal MCMC MH, and Poisson SN.
10:45-12:00 Hierarchical Bayesian Modeling, with R (Jefferys)
QuickTime Video
R Program: Normal Hierarchical
12:00-1:30 Lunch
1:30-2:45 Model Selection & Model Averaging, with R (Jefferys)
QuickTime Video
R Program: Hypothesis
3:00-4:15 Parallel Chain MCMC, with Mathematica (Gregory)
QuickTime Video
4:15-4:30 Distribute/Fill Feedback Forms
4:30-5:30 Bayesian Miscellany (Loredo)
QuickTime Video

Tutorial 2. Nonparametric Inference
January 21-22, 2006, NISS/SAMSI building, Room 104

Chad Schafer and Larry Wasserman (Carnegie-Mellon) - Leaders

The tutorial will introduce the fundamentals of modern nonparametric inference. Participants will be shown how to utilize these nonparametric methods.

See this web site for details about topics and computer programs that will be used during the practicums.

Tutorial 2
Saturday, January 21, 2006
NISS/SAMSI building, Room 104

Transportation Information
10:00-12:00 Lecture 1 - Nonparametric Inference with R
QuickTime Video
12:00-2:00 Lunch
2:00-4:00 Lecture 2 - Regression Trees in R
QuickTime Video
Sunday, January 22, 2006
NISS/SAMSI building, Room 104

Transportation Information
10:00-12:00 Lecture/Practicum 3
12:00-2:00 Lunch
2:00-4:00 Lecture/Practicum 4

Tutorial 3. Astronomy for Statisticians
January 21-22, 2006, NISS/SAMSI building, Room 203
William Jefferys (UTexas) and Eric Feigelson (Penn State) - Leaders.

In this tutorial, the modern understanding of our universe will be reviewed spanning planetary systems, stars, the Milky Way Galaxy, extragalactic astronomy and cosmology. Statistical issues underlying the astronomical studies will be emphasized and discussed.

Tutorial 3
Saturday, January 21, 2006
NISS/SAMSI building, Room 203

Transportation Information
9:00-10:00 a.m. Movie and Overview (Bill)
10:00-11:00 Solar System (Bill), Lecture
11:00-11:30 Break
11:30-12:00 Exoplanets (Eric)
12:00-1:30 Lunch
1:30-2:00 Star Formation 1, 2, and Planet Formation (Eric)
2:00-3:00 Stellar Physics and HR Diagram (Bill), Lecture
3:00-3:30 Break
3:30-4:30 Stellar Evolution (Bill), Lecture
Sunday, January 22, 2006
NISS/SAMSI building, Room 203

Transportation Information
9:00-10:00 a.m. Multiwavelength Telescopes and Surveys (Eric)
10:00-10:45 Milky Way & Stellar Populations (Bill), Lecture
10:45-11:00 Break
11:00-12:00 Galaxies: including clustering and AGN (Eric)
12:00-1:30 Lunch
1:30-3:00 Classical, and Recent Developments, in Cosmology (Eric)
3:00-3:15 Break
3:15-3:45 Discussion (Bill, Eric)
3:45-4:30 Summary (Eric)

Note: Tutorials 2 and 3 will be given concurrently.

Opening Workshop:


Monday, January 23, 2006
Radisson Hotel, 3rd Floor, Room H
9:00-9:10 a.m. Welcome and Introductions
Jim Berger, SAMSI, and G. Jogesh Babu, Penn State University
9:10-11:55 Session on Source Detection
Chair: David van Dyk, Univ. of California-Irvine

9:10-9:55 Detection of Gamma Ray Sources
Brenda Dingus, Los Alamos National Laboratory
9:55-10:40 Star Counts and Galaxy Properties from Surveys: Past, Current and Future Trends
Martin Weinberg, Univ. of Massachusetts
11:10-11:55 Panel/group discussion
David van Dyk, Brenda Dingus, Martin Weinberg, Vinay Kashyap (Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory), and Rebecca Willett (Duke University)
11:55-12:30 Introductions to Evening Posters
12:30-1:30 PM Lunch
1:30-3:45 Session on Exoplanets
Chair: Bill Jefferys, Univ. of Texas and Univ. of Vermont
1:30-2:15 Extrasolar planet detection: a view from the trenches, Movie
Alex Wolszczan, Penn State University
2:15-3:00 Analysis of Radial Velocity and Astrometric Signals in the Detection of Multi-Planet Extrasolar Planetary Systems, Movie
Barbara McArthur, Univ. of Texas
Panel/group discussion
Bill Jefferys, Alex Wolszczan, Barbara McArthur, and Michael Lavine, (Duke University)
3:45-4:15 Break
4:15-5:15 5-Minute Madness: Anyone who wishes can give a 5-minute TALK describing their research and interests, an interesting problem, or whatever! Transparencies or slides are limited to four, and slides must be put into the session computer over the Break.

Jeff Scargle, (NASA-AMES)
Vinay Kashyap, (Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory)
Rebecca Willett, (Duke University)
Jiashun Jin, (Purdue University)
Ruth-Stella Berrara-Rojas, U. Nacional de Columbia)
6:30-8:30 Poster Session and Reception at the Radisson Hotel, 2nd Floor

SAMSI will provide poster presentation boards and tape. The board dimensions are 4 ft. wide by 3 ft. high. They are tri-fold with each side being 1 ft. wide and the center 2 ft. wide. Please make sure your poster fits the board. The boards can accommodate up to 16 pages of paper measuring 8.5 inches by 11 inches.
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Radisson Hotel, 3rd Floor, Room H
9:00-11:45 a.m. Session on Surveys
Chair: Tom Loredo, Cornell University

9:10-9:55 Large Optical Surveys, LSST Strong Lensing Movie
David Wittman, UC Davis
9:45-10:30 Censoring and truncation in astronomical surveys, SGR_time Movie, SGR_flyaround Movie
Eric Feigelson, Penn State
11:00-11:45 Panel/group discussion
Tom Loredo, David Wittman, Eric Feigelson and Larry Wasserman (Carnegie Mellon University)
11:45-12:15 Introduction to Particle Physics: Louis Lyons, Oxford University
12:15-1:15 Lunch
1:15-3:30 Session on Particle Physics
Chair: Louis Lyons, Oxford University

1:15-2:00 Bayesians Inside the Gate: A View from Particle Physics
Harrison Prosper, Florida State University
2:00-2:45 Some Current Statistical Considerations in Particle Physics
Byron Roe, Univ. of Michigan
Panel/group discussion
Louis Lyons, Harrison Prosper, Byron Roe and Peter Bickel, (Univ. of California-Berkeley)
3:30-4:00 Break
4:00-5:15 New Researchers Session

Angie Snyder-Hugeback, Univ. of Chicago
Statistics for Astronomy: Inference about the Population of Quasars

Kristofer Jennings, Purdue University
An Approach to Detecting Non-Gaussianity in the Cosmic Microwave Background

Ji Meng Loh, Columbia University
Measuring Clustering of Absorbers

Yaming Yu, Univ. of California-Irvine
Statistical Modeling of Sunspot Cycles
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Radisson Hotel, 3rd Floor, Room H
9:00-11:45 Session on Gravitational Lensing
Chair: Arlie Petters, Duke University

9:00-9:45 Stochastic Gravitational Lensing and the Nature of Dark Matter
Charles Keeton, Rutgers University
9:45-10:30 Gravitational Lensing: Mass Reconstruction Methods and Results
Liliya Williams, Univ. of Minnesota
Panel/group discussion
Arlie Petters, Charles Keeton, Liliya Williams and Zhengyuan Zhu, (UNC-Chapel Hill)
11:45-1:30 Formation of Discussion Groups, and Discussion over Lunch
1:30-3:45 Session on Other Topics
Chair: Alana Connors, Eureka Scientific

1:30-2:15 Needles in Haystacks: Are There Any? How Many Are There? Where Are They?
John Rice, UC-Berkeley
2:15-3:00 Nonparametric Inference in Astrophysics and Cosmology: Biases and Variants
Christopher Genovese, Carnegie Mellon
Panel/group discussion
Alana Connors, John Rice, Chris Genovese and Keith Arnaud, (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center)
3:45-4:15 Break
4:15-5:15 Discussion Group Reports and Working Group Formation




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