Author Archive

[announce] upcoming workshops and conferences

Kirk Borne has compiled a list of interesting workshops and conferences coming up in the near future:

The Future of Scientific Knowledge Discovery in Open Networked Environments

New York Workshop on Computer, Earth, and Space Sciences 2011

Innovations in Data-Intensive Astronomy

Astrostatistics and Data Mining in Large Astronomical Databases

Statistical Challenges in Modern Astronomy V (including summer school & tutorials)

Very Wide Field Surveys in the Light of Astro2010

Statistical Methods for Very Large Datasets

23rd Scientific and Statistical Database Management Conference

International Statistical Institute (ISI) World Congress

NASA Conference on Intelligent Data Understanding

[announce] SCMA V

via David van Dyk, information about 3 events in astrostatistics hosted by Penn State’s Center for Astrostatistics:

  1. Summer School in Statistics for Astronomers VII (June 6-10, 2011)
  2. Pre-conference Tutorials (June 11-12, 2011)
  3. Statistical Challenges in Modern Astronomy V (June 13-17, 2011)*

*Web site:

Registration is now open until May 6
(Summer School registration may close earlier if the enrollment limit is reached)

Contributed papers for the SCMA V conference are welcome

Summer School in Statistics for Astronomers: The seventh summer school is an intensive week covering basic statistical inference, several fields of applied statistics, and hands-on experience with the R computing environment. Topics include: exploratory data analysis, hypothesis testing, parameter estimation, regression, bootstrap resampling, model selection & goodness-of-fit, maximum likelihood and Bayesian methods, nonparametrics, spatial processes, and times series. Instructors are mostly faculty members in statistics.

Pre-conference tutorials: Instruction in four areas of astrostatistical interest presented during the weekend between the Summer School and SCMA V conference. Topics are: Bayesian computation and MCMC; data mining; R for astronomers; and wavelets for image analysis. Instructors are members of the SCMA V Scientific Organizing Committee.

SCMA V conference: Held every five years, SCMA conferences are the premier cross-disciplinary forum for research statisticians and astronomers to discuss methodological issues of mutual interest. Session topics include: statistical modeling in astronomy, Bayesian analysis across astronomy; Bayesian cosmology; data mining and informatics; sparsity; interpreting astrophysical simulations; time domain astronomy; spatial and image analysis; and future directions for astrostatistics. Invited lectures will be followed by cross-disciplinary commentaries. The conference welcomes contributed papers from statisticians and astronomers.

Visit for more information and registration

Eric Feigelson, Dept. of Astronomy & Astrophysics, Penn State,
G. Jogesh Babu, Dept. of Statistics, Penn State,

CAS 2010

The schedule for the mini-Workshop on Computational AstroStatistics is set:

mini-Workshop on Computational AstroStatistics [announcement]

mini-Workshop on Computational Astro-statistics: Challenges and Methods for Massive Astronomical Data
Aug 24-25, 2010
Phillips Auditorium, CfA,
60 Garden St., Cambridge, MA 02138

Continue reading ‘mini-Workshop on Computational AstroStatistics [announcement]’ »

General comments

For general comments.

AstroStat Summer School [Announcement]

From Jogesh Babu:

First Announcement

Summer School in Statistics for Astronomers VI
June 7-12, 2010
with a supplement on Statistics and Computation for Astronomical Surveys
June 12-14, 2010
Registration Deadline: May 3, 2010 or when the enrollment limit reaches.
Penn State University

Continue reading ‘AstroStat Summer School [Announcement]’ »

Beyond simple models-New methods for complex data

This is a special session at the January 2010 meeting of the AAS. It is scheduled for the afternoon of Thursday, Jan 7, 2-3:30pm.

Abstracts are due Sep 17.

Meeting Justification

We propose to highlight the growing use of ‘non-parametric’ techniques to distill meaningful science from today’s astronomical data. Challenges range from Kuiper objects to cosmology. We have chosen just a few ‘teaching’ examples from this lively interdisciplinary area.

Continue reading ‘Beyond simple models-New methods for complex data’ »


The Section on Bayesian Statistical Science (SBSS) of the American Statistical Association (ASA) would like to announce its 2010 student paper competition.  Winners of the competition will receive partial support for attending the 2010 Joint Statistical Meetings (JSM) in Vancouver, BC.


The candidate must be a member of SBSS (URL: or ISBA (International Society for Bayesian Analysis). Those candidates who have previously received travel support from SBSS are not eligible to participate. In addition, the candidate must be a full-time student (undergraduate, Masters, or Ph.D.) on or after September 1, 2009.

A manuscript, suitable for journal submission, is required for entry. The candidate must be the lead author on the paper, and hold the primary responsibility for the research and write-up.

The candidate must have separately submitted an abstract for JSM 2010 through the regular abstract submission process,  to present applied, computational, or theoretical Bayesian work. Papers should be submitted for presentation at the JSM as topic contributed or invited papers. Those papers not already a part of a session should be submitted online using the following settings:

(at URL:

* Abstract Type: Topic contributed
* Sub Type: Papers
* Sponsor: Section on Bayesian Statistical Science
* Organizer:  Alyson Wilson
* Organizer e-mail: agw -at-

Application Process

The deadline for application is Feb. 1 (same as the JSM 2010 abstract submission deadline). A formal application including the following materials should be emailed to Prof. Vanja Dukic (vanja -at-

a)      CV
b)      Abstract number (from the ASA JSM 2010 abstract submission)
c)      Letter from the major professor (advisor) or faculty co-author, verifying the student status of the candidate, and briefly describing the candidate’s role in the research and writing of the paper
d)      The manuscript, suitable for journal submission, in .pdf format.

Selection of Winners

Papers will be reviewed by a committee determined by the officers of the SBSS. Criteria for selection will include, but are not limited to, significance and potential impact of the research.  Decisions of the committee are final, and will be announced in the Spring before the JSM.


Prizes will consist of a certificate to be presented at the SBSS section meeting and partial support (up to $1000) for attending the JSM.  Please note that the awards may be unable to cover the entirety of any winner’s travel, so winning candidates may need to supplement the SBSS award with other funds. To receive a monetary prize, the winner will need to provide proof of membership and submit travel receipts to the SBSS treasurer after the JSM.

[Announce] Heidelberg Summer School

From Christian Fendt comes this announcement:

First Announcement and Call for Applications

The “International Max Planck Research School for Astronomy & Cosmic Physics at the University of Heidelberg” (IMPRS-HD)

announces the

— 4th Heidelberg Summer School:

— Statistical Inferences from Astrophysical Data

— August 10-14, 2009

Continue reading ‘[Announce] Heidelberg Summer School’ »

[Announce] AstroStat Summer School at Penn State

From Jogesh Babu comes this announcement:

Summer School in Statistics for Astronomers V
June 1-6, 2009
Penn State University

Continue reading ‘[Announce] AstroStat Summer School at Penn State’ »

loess and lowess and locfit, oh my

Diab Jerius follows up on LOESS techniques with a very nice summary update and finds LOCFIT to be very useful, but there are still questions about how it deals with measurement errors and combining observations from different experiments:

Continue reading ‘loess and lowess and locfit, oh my’ »

SLAC Summer Institute

A GLAST-related opportunity: A Summer Science Institute at SLAC on Cosmic Accelerators is scheduled for August 4-15 in anticipation of GLAST science, and the co-directors welcome participation by students, postdocs, and researchers (even those with no background in astrophysics). The registration deadline is July 31. Continue reading ‘SLAC Summer Institute’ »

This week’s quote:

“It’s easy to get a good fit, which means that your fit doesn’t mean much…”

Ariane Lancon (from proceedings of “Starbursts: from 30 Doradus to Lyman break galaxies”, 2005)

The Burden of Reviewers

Astronomers write literally thousands of proposals each year to observe their favorite targets with their favorite telescopes. Every proposal must be accompanied by a technical justification, where the proposers demonstrate that their goal is achievable, usually via a simulation. Surprisingly, a large number of these justifications are statistically unsound. Guest Slogger Simon Vaughan describes the problem and shows what you can do to make reviewers happy (and you definitely want to keep reviewers happy).
Continue reading ‘The Burden of Reviewers’ »

A quote on data analysis

Same data, different authors, different results.

(Marco Sirianni, from a conference on starbursts).