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Northwestern University

CIERA Spring Interdisciplinary Colloquium 2014
May 7
4:00 pm
Tech L211
Josh Bloom
    Professor, Astronomy Department, University of California, Berkeley
    Co-chair, Transients and Variable Star Group, Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST)

Inference in Time Domain Astrophysics

The scientific promise of modern astrophysical surveys---from exoplanets to gravity waves---is palpable. Yet extracting insight from the data deluge is neither guaranteed nor trivial: existing paradigms for analysis are already beginning to breakdown under the data velocity. I will describe our efforts to apply statistical machine learning to large-scale astronomy datasets both in batch and streaming mode. From the discovery of supernovae to the characterization of tens of thousands of variable stars such approaches are leading the way to novel inference. Specific discoveries concerning precision distance measurements and using LSST as a pseudo-spectrograph will be discussed.

CIERA Winter Interdisciplinary Colloquium 2014
Feb. 17
4:00 pm
Tech F160
Tony Tyson 
    Distinguished Professor, Department of Physics, University of California, Davis
    Chief Scientist
, Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST)

LSST and the Physics of the Dark Universe

The physics that underlies the accelerating cosmic expansion is unknown. This “dark energy” and the equally mysterious “dark matter” comprise 96% of the mass-energy of the universe and are outside the standard model. Recent advances in optics, detectors, and information technology, has led to the design of a facility that will repeatedly image an unprecedented volume of the universe: LSST. For the first time, the sky will be surveyed wide, deep and fast. The history of astronomy has taught us repeatedly that there are surprises whenever we view the sky in a new way. I will focus on the technology of LSST, and review several independent probes of the nature of dark energy and dark matter. These new investigations will rely on the statistical precision obtainable with billions of galaxies.

CIERA Fall Interdisciplinary Colloquium 2013
Nov. 12th
4:00 pm
Tech F160
Mario Juric 
    LSST Data Management Project Scientist
    Large Synoptic Survey Telescope Corporation

Large Synoptic Survey Telescope:
Entering the Era of Petascale Optical Astronomy

The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) is a planned, large-aperture, wide-field, ground-based telescope that will survey half the sky every few nights in six optical bands from 320 to 1050 nm. It will explore a wide range of astrophysical questions, ranging from discovering “killer” asteroids, to examining the nature of dark energy.
The LSST will produce on average 15 terabytes of data per night, yielding an (uncompressed) data set of over 100 petabytes at the end of its 10-year mission. Dedicated HPC facilities will process the image data in near real time, with full-dataset reprocessings on annual scale. A sophisticated data management system will enable database queries from individual users, as well as computationally intensive scientific investigations that utilize the entire data set.
In this talk, I will review what LSST will deliver once operational, discuss implications of LSST-sized data sets on astronomy in the 2020s, and argue that we as a community need to prepare in advance to make the best use of the upcoming petascale datasets.

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Past CIERA Interdisciplinary Colloquia