Astrostatistics Image Penn State University Eberly College of Science Center for Astrostatistics Center for Astrostatistics

 2011 Events | SCMA V | Summer School | Travel & Visa | Lodging | Registration


Summer School in Statistics for Astronomers VII (June 6-10, 2011)

Pre-conference Tutorials (June 11-12, 2011)

Statistical Challenges in Modern Astronomy V (June 13-17, 2011)


Penn State is continuing its annual Summer Schools in Statistics designed for graduate students and researchers in astronomy. The seventh summer school is an intensive week covering basic statistical inference, several fields of applied statistics, and the R computing environment.

A repertoire of well-established techniques applicable to observational astronomy and physics are developed. Classroom instruction is interspersed with hands-on analysis of astronomical data using the open-source R software package. The course is taught by a team of statistics and astronomy professors with opportunity for discussion of methodological issues. The topics covered include:

  • Exploratory data analysis
  • Hypothesis testing and parameter estimation
  • Regression
  • Bootstrap resampling
  • Model selection & goodness-of-fit
  • Maximum likelihood methods & Bayes' Theorem
  • Non-parametric methods
  • Monte Carlo methods
  • Poisson processes
  • Time series

The 2011 Summer School will be modeled on the last six Penn State Summer Schools and the three Indian Institute of Astrophysics-Penn State Summer Schools; see 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 lecture notes for the Penn State Summer Schools.

The seventh summer school is partially supported by the National Science Foundation.

Summer School Registration is closed as the enrollment limit has been reached. There is no waiting list.

The Statistical Challenges in Modern Astronomy (SCMA) conferences, held every five years since 1991, are the premiere forum for research statisticians and astronomers to discuss methodological issues of mutual interest. Astronomers face an incredible range of problems in statistical inference from megadatasets, modeling data with nonlinear astrophysical models, time series analysis from irregularly spaced observations, spatial analysis of clustering processes, treatment of censoring and truncation, heteroscedastic measurement errors, and more. The issue arise in all fields of astronomy -- planetary, stellar, extragalactic and cosmological -- and observations at all wavebands of light. Major investments in new telescopes require new advanced statistical methodologies to attain their scientific goals. SCMA meetings are unusual in emphasizing cross-disciplinary interactions between statisticians and astronomers. The Invited Speaker in one field is followed by a Commentator from the other field. Brief biographies of the Speakers and Scientific Organizing Committee members are available.

SCMA V is preceded by weekend tutorials (June 11-12) in fields of particular interest in astrostatistics.

The Scientific Program is divided into nine sessions with ~30 confirmed speakers.

  1. Statistical Modeling in Astronomy
  2. Bayesian Analysis Across Astronomy
  3. Bayesian Cosmology
  4. Data Mining and Informatics
  5. Sparsity
  6. Interpreting Astrophysical Simulations
  7. Time Domain Astronomy
  8. Spatial and Image Analysis
  9. Future Directions for Astrostatistics

The pre-conference Tutorials presented by S.O.C. members:

  1. Bayesian Computation: MCMC and All That
  2. Data Mining
  3. R for Astronomers

The conference welcomes contributed papers from statisticians and astronomers

Scientific Organizing Committee:

Statisticians:   G. Jogesh Babu (PSU, co-Chair), David Banks (Duke), Lawrence Brown (UPenn), Chris Koen (WCU), Fionn Murtagh (RHUL), Chad Schafer (CMU), David van Dyk (UCI)

Astronomers:   Kirk Borne (GMU), Eric Feigelson (PSU, co-chair), Alan Heavens (Edinburgh), Thomas Loredo (Cornell), Pavlos Protopapas (Harvard), Jean-Luc Starck (CEA), Licia Verde (Barcelona)

The conference is co-sponsored by the Institute for Mathematical Statistics, the National Science Foundation, Penn State's Eberly College of Science, and the departments of Statistics, and Astronomy & Astrophysics.


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

Local information:
The 2011 summer school will be held on the Pennsylvania State University's University Park Campus located in State College, Pennsylvania, USA. The town of State College and the university campus combine to offer a relaxed, college town atmosphere with many shops, restaurants and points of interest. Recreational opportunities abound including fine golf courses, tennis courts, gymnasiums and swimming facilities. For maps and tourism information visit the Central Pennsylvania Convention & Visitors Bureau online.

IMSDepartment of StatisticsEberly College of ScienceDepartment of Astronomy and AstrophysicsNSF