University of Cambridge > > Cavendish Astrophysics Seminars > Modelling Astrophysics Data for Discovery, Classification and Precise Measurement

Modelling Astrophysics Data for Discovery, Classification and Precise Measurement

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In applications as varied as the measurement of stellar proper motions, the determination of the Milky Way mass with maser kinematics, and the selection of quasar targets for SDSS -III BOSS , precise – and more important, accurate – data analysis requires a model that generates the data. A generative model produces a probability distribution function in the space of the noisy data, after convolution by observational uncertainty distribution functions. I show that proper modelling of the data-generating process performs better than other data analysis and classification methods, in scientific applications in which measurements come with relatively reliable uncertainty estimates. I make also some comments on the theoretical basis for, and ideal outputs from, any principled program of data analysis. These results have implications for almost all ongoing and future astrophysics projects.

This talk is part of the Cavendish Astrophysics Seminars series.

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