Workshop on Statistical Challenges in Astronomy

7-8 December 2017, UNSW, Sydney.

About the workshop

Current and future astronomical survey projects produce large volumes of high quality data to enable research on topics including the formation and evolution of the Milky Way, the architecture of exoplanetary systems, and the evolution of galaxies across cosmic time.

This workshop will bring together statisticians and astronomers to stimulate discussions of new ideas and foster new collaborations, and hence accelerate discovery across disciplinary boundaries. We aim to provide a valuable opportunity to network and to foster future interaction between the two disciplines.

Topics will include group finding for big data, high dimensional data visualisation, generative models, and Bayesian modelling. The format of the workshop seeks to overcome cross disciplinary language barriers and to initiate potential collaborations between participants. There will be dedicated workshop times to allow participants to work together to initiate new projects. Participants from both disciplines are encouraged to present a short presentation of their own research that might have potential for cross-fertilization.

Organising Committee


The workshop will take place 7-8 December 2017, at the School of Mathematics and Statistics, UNSW Sydney. The Red Center, RC4082.

We have corrdinated with the Australian Institute of Physics (3-8 December UNSW), so that the astronomy session in the Summer Meeting will not overlap with our workshop.


Register for this workshop HERE. Registration is free, but places are limited. Deadline for registration is 23rd November, 2017. If you would like to present at the workshop, please send the title and abstract to Yanan Fan .

Please note that

  • Lunch and refreshments will be provided.
  • Domestic attendees from AMSI Member organisations have access to funding via the AMSI travel fund. The list of organisations can be found here .
  • Students or early career researchers from A MSI member universities without access to a suitable research grant or other source of funding may apply to the Head of Mathematical Sciences for subsidy of travel and accommodation out of the departmental travel allowance.


A tentative program of the workshop can be found here.

Workshop participants will also be expected to bring an idea for a project that can be begun or developed during the meeting, in collaboration with other participants. Our goal for the workshop is to set up pairs and small groups based on common interests, and get you started working together. On the first day, everyone will have one minute and one slide to present their project, and then time to team up and get started. On the second day, after some more work time, each project will have one minute and one slide to present their progress and plans.

Please add your Day 1 slide to the collection at by 4 December (the Monday before the workshop). The day 2 slides will be at

Invited Speakers


Slides for the talks:

Stan tutorial by John Ormerod is here
Bayesian Hierarchical models by Sanjib Sharma is here
Gaussian processes by Dan Foreman-Mackey is here
Histograms by Inge Koch is here
Tomasz Bednarz's talk on visualisation is here