Gelman, photons

While the GALEX photons are winging their way to NYC by FedEx (yes, don't underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of hard drives), Schiminovich, Foreman-Mackey, and I took advantage of an opportunity to spend some quality time with Andrew Gelman, stats blogger extraordinaire. We discussed, among other things, the problem of sampling in spaces of high degeneracy. The conversation ended with Gelman requesting that we get specific by writing a density function in C++ and he will fire it into STAN. This relates to our MCMC High Society challenge, though we will start with an easier problem. It also relates to the plan (hatched at CMML at NIPS) to create testbeds or challenge problems that are simple enough and documented such that they can be shared across disciplines.

In the rest of the day, we did our usual (that is, discuss everything under the Sun, including cosmological tests with Lam Hui, who we found at the coffee shop) and noted that brilliant work by the GALEX team has got us a lot further along our project of modeling the GALEX instrument response, spacecraft pointing model, and astronomical source variability using all the individual (that is, not co-added) photons.

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